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Bahrain: Peninsula Farms upgrades greenhouse technology

Grahame Dunling has completed his first year at Peninsula Farms and despite the challenges of growing salads in 50c heat of the desert he has just agreed to a three year extension of his contract. Since been appointed as the Chief Operating Officer of Peninsula farms he has In the last twelve months moved peninsula Farms forward from been a just a normal grower of lettuce and salads in Bahrain to been a premium grower of Salanova lettuce and Other salad produce in Bahrain.

According to Grahame more exciting things are going to happen in 2015 one of these is that through the sister company of Al Zallaq they are now partners with Royal Brinkman of Holland. This partnership allows both companies to move into the GCC horticultural market to supply quality greenhouse supplies to other growers. It also means that they have exclusive distribution rights to several high tech growing systems. Any company can now benefit from having a worldwide expert company but with local knowledge.

Peninsula Farms have also entered into a partnership with a Japanese company for the development of a tomato aeroponic growing system and a 1,000m2 system is been installed in February 2015, Again another exciting opportunity for the G.C.C in terms of food security and water shortages. 

They have also entered into an agreement with Rijk Zwaan where they are the sole grower of Salanova premium lettuce in Bahrain and to do this have upgraded the nursery to be a more modern growing facility. 

Gone are the old very high A-Frame system that was inefficient that resulted in high Labour cost and a brand new Labour friendly design lettuce facility installed. This not only lowers cost of production it produces far more Quality heads of lettuce 

They have totally redesigned the nursery to work in a more commercial fashion than the original design allowed for. From upgrading the polythene film that covers the greenhouses right through to the recirculation of the nutrients. 

They have upgraded all there irrigation system to Priva Irrigation units which gives them far more control over the nutrient mix the plants receive. All the lettuce is grown hydroponically in a fully recirculated system that is then filtered and re-injected with the correct nutrients and back to the plants this whole system reduces the total water usage.

They have also installed the latest cooling pads and a new self designed closed loop cold air type system for the movement of cold air which allows the company to grow throughout the summer months of Bahrain. This was successfully trailed last summer with crops like Capsicum, tomatoes and Lettuce been available throughout the summer months.

The company has also invested in modern and sustainable growing methods like the use of Yellow sticky traps and Pheromone traps to be used instead of chemicals having to be sprayed. They also use Bumble Bees for the pollination of the crops which in turn gives a better yield and more consistent fruit.

The company has also moved towards the more European growing style of having a floor covering and computer controlled environment & irrigation system for the vine crops which give the plant not only the right air conditions it gives the correct feed of 330ml at every watering. They also use Rockwool as the growing media and hygiene is a very high priority on the nursery, with the staff changing their footwear from outdoor to indoor shoes to help keep the greenhouse clean from any contamination. Hand sanitation units are a must before entering the greenhouses and all knives, scissors etc are placed in sterile containers over night. All of this helps to give the crops that are grown here a very high standard of health and freshness that is needed for quality Local produce to compete with imported products and all at a cheaper price, but still having the high quality and consistency that the Hypermarkets demand. 

For more information
Peninsula Farms W.L.L.
Grahame Dunling
Chief Operating Officer
T: +973 39994538
F:+973 17910906

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