Mark Taylor, The James Hutton Institute, presented his project Airponix at the GCRF AgriFood Africa Event in December 2019.

Background

 

Potatoes are the second largest crop in Kenya behind maize. The yields they achieve are very low at approx 8 tonnes per hectare (t/ha) due to lack of clean seed tubers for planting, whereas in the UK for comparison, there are approx 40 to 70 t/ha. Airponix have developed a new crop production system that can increase minitubers, reduces cost, is virus free and needs zero clean land requirement.

Some challenges that Kenyan farmers face are:

  • Lack of land
  • Education
  • Awareness of benefits and risks involved
  • Seed tubers are expensive
  • Lack of seed multipliers
  • Climate change
  • Severe weather

Airponix has developed an innovative system that overcomes these challenges by feeding the seed tubers from generating a nutrient rich fog through a chamber, no clean land is needed as it is all self contained. Other vegetables can also be grown using this technology such as sweet potatoes, tomatoes and other food such as wheat and grapevines. The fog is made up of 160 million droplets per second.

 

The next step for Airponix is to build one of the systems in Kisima Farm in Kenya and to look at improving agricultural productivity globally.

Agri-tech Catalyst round 8: agriculture and food systems innovation

Airponix Ltd, Kisima Farm Limited, and The James Hutton Institute won funding from Round 8 of the Agri-Tech Catalyst competition for their project “Aeroponic disruptive advancement for game-changes in seed potato production in Kenya.” 

UK businesses and research organisations were invited to apply for a share of up to £3 million from DFID and Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) for projects with partners in eligible African countries.

For more information on Airponix, click here.

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GCRF AgriFood Africa Event Project Presentation: Mark Taylor, Project: Airponix Ltd. Video produced by: https://www.blowyourtrumpetfilms.com/