Name Gorge Farm
GGN 4050373119959 Website https://www.vegpro-group.om
Country Kenya

Profile

Gorge Farm is a subsidiary of the larger VP Group located 21 km from Naivasha town, south lake road, bordering Hell’s Gate National Park, Nakuru County. The farm, covering an area of 669 ha, of which 400 ha are farmed, was acquired from Homegrown Kenya Ltd. in 2007. Since then, the farm has been growing a variety of horticultural crops in rotation and it can arguably be claimed that Gorge Farm is the largest single farm in Kenya under one management due to its high number of different horticultural crops. These include various types of herbs, asparagus, beans, baby corn, salad onions, cauliflowers, squash, cabbage, broccoli, pak choi, courgettes, ginger, and pepper, which are exported to the EU, UK, Asia, and South Africa. The region in which the farm is located has an average annual rainfall amount of 647 mm. The prevailing soil type is sandy loam, a big percentage being volcanic ash, which provides the management personnel with real farming challenges in terms of soil water holding capacity.
Gorge Farm has lived up to its vision of being a world class, innovative, and international agribusiness by complying with the requirements of renowned international standards including GLOBALG.A.P., select growers Field to Fork, Tesco NURTURE, and SMETA – Ethical Trade Initiative, and is currently working to achieve LEAF Marque certification.
The farm has a total of 1611 employees, 90 % of which are on permanent employment contracts. All employees are provided with free lunch and free transport to and from their homes.

 

Achievements

Waste management
We are constantly looking at new ways of minimizing all types of waste (resources, time, energy) from our operations in order to become a leaner business that is fit for the future. Reducing waste helps us to conserve natural resources, save money on input, avoid disposal costs, reduce our environmental footprint, and maximize value for our customers.
Gorge Farm operates according to the principle of “no waste is waste”, and all the green waste generated from the field and vegetable packing houses from the surroundings is used to generate 5 megawatts of electricity through the Biojoule plant on location. The power generated is partly used on the farm and partly sold to the national grid. The Biojoule plant has greatly improved waste management, as waste was formerly simply dumped anywhere, thus polluting the waters of Lake Naivasha. The Biojoule plant itself also generates waste, which again is not actually treated as waste, but rather as fertilizer, after the necessary analysis, and is incorporated into the soil. This is especially the case in areas that are problematic for crop growing, since large parts of the farm are located on volcanic ash. The water holding capacity of the soil has now greatly improved, thus reducing the irrigation regime. This is a classic case of transferring and transforming energy from one type and form to another.
A further area in which the farm has taken big strides in waste management is in waste composting. The waste which cannot be fed into the Biojoule plant is used for composting, which has greatly helped some of the neighboring flower farms including Kongoni Gorge Division and Kongoni-Longonot Division that were struggling to handle their green flower waste. This has helped the farms to plant trees in areas which were previously occupied with heaps of green rotting waste. The company follows a strict composting protocol, which ensures the final compost is safe from microbial and chemical hazards. Incorporating compost into the soil has greatly improved our soils and in turn increased tonnage per hectare.

Soil and water management
Gorge Farm is located in the rift valley of Kenya at the base of Mt. Longonot, which means that the soils consist mainly of volcanic ash which is loosely held together. The annual amount of rainfall is 647 mm, which means that the soils require continuous water application if anything is to be harvested. That is why Gorge Farm began an intensive and extensive soil improvement plan through application of composted manure that is prepared on the farm. This has greatly improved the soil structure, which in turn has improved the soil water holding capacity, which has translated into reduced irrigation regimes.


Sustainability
Balancing the environmental, social, and economic facets of our business operations to ensure responsible, ethical, and longtime success has always been at the heart of what we do in farming and transportation. The goal of our sustainability activities is to create shared values for our colleagues and their communities, which means growing our business in a way that also creates additional values for society, by addressing its challenges now and in the future. Over the past 8 years, GLOBALG.A.P. certification has laid the foundation for sustainable production, and the farm is now aspiring to become LEAF Margue certified, with its already registered membership number 12220, by 2019.
In-house trials have resulted in reduced rates of plant protection product application, new pheromone traps are used, baby corn SG 18 has been adopted commercially for its better shelf life, biomass, and yields, runner beans-equinox are bred in-house as day neutral runner beans thus eliminating the need to illuminate the crops in the night, hence completely eliminating electric power usage and wastage.
Last but not least, the farm supplies water to Hell’s Gate National Park to ensure animals do not suffer from a lack of drinking water, particularly in spells of dry weather, thus ensuring a positive co-existence.

People
Our employees are the greatest assets that we have in our operations. The farm has more than 1600 employees including 47 bachelor and diploma students who were accepted into the apprenticeship program in 2017 to learn the skills of farming. Gorge Farm provides a multifaceted experience in farming, as it covers a wide variety of horticultural crops, crop trials, and nursery management in a single farm. Six students who completed the programs have taken on permanent positions on the farm, while the rest have joined other farming businesses across the country. We currently have 12 students working as apprentices.