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Video: Greenhouse improvement on Réunion Island
Aside from its beautiful landscape and green hilly nature, the Island of Réunion is known for it's small horticulture industry that is helping the island to be self-sufficient with its own food supply. The Island is located in the Indian Ocean about 420 miles east of Madagascar. Growers have limited availability of arable land due to hills and mountains. The cultivation is done in small structures in which they do everything they can to create a maximum production per square meter.
Installing more efficient growing systems is one of the practices carried out by growers to boost their yields. As their greenhouses are sometimes built on a hilly location with some surface slope, drainage and run off water of their hydroponic substrates often creates wet and humid conditions, with diseases and yield loss as a result. Therefore, growers are currently installing hydroponic spacer and gutter systems from Hydroponic Systems to optimize their drainage water collection.
Local crop consultant Jean-Marc Hoarau of JM Horti Consulting, explained that since last year, about 1.5 hectare of these systems have been installed at a total of 10 Réunion growers. "Growers of crops like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and melons now place their coco peat substrate slabs on these gutters. We have noticed that they reduced the pest pressure inside their greenhouses. Irrigation water is better collected, the greenhouses stay clean and tidy, dry, less humid and the crops are less susceptible to a disease like botrytis."
Another big advantage of the gutter solution from Hydroponic Systems is the ease of installation. The system is fully shippable, even to a location as remote as Réunion Island and no heavy machinery is required for installation. In order to showcase the ease of installation, Hoarau made a video during the installation at the greenhouse of Steven Merlo, a tomato grower at Mont Vert les Bas, on the south side of the island.
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