ICARDA Interview with Kassem Sa’eed, Owner of hydroponic and aquaponic farms: Al Youmna Hydro Farms and AL YOUMNA FRUITS.
Al Youmna is a leading company in growing and exporting fresh crops. It is exporting different varieties of agricultural products and have a wealth of experience in farming, preparing, packing and exporting. The slogan of Al Youmna is “Where Promise is Delivered” is a reflection of their vision and the action plan is made to achieve the goal which has always been a long term cooperative relationship with each of our customers by providing direct and excellent customer service.
Mr. Kassem Sa’eed answers following questions about the importance of linking research to private sector needs:
- Why is it important to link research to private sector needs?
Many intermediaries pretend they are researchers while there is no direct contact with the good experts. The private Sector needs various types of research and cooperation. For example :
- Bio treatment of lettuces in hydro farms
- How to apply the local fertilizers to prepare the hydroponic A and B solutions considering the local quality that is available which is different from standard solutions
- supply Oxygen in Deep Water Culture (DWC) for growers: potassium peroxide is not available in Egypt, what is the alternatives ?
- What is the amount of light and measurements for hydro farms during seasons in Egypt ?
- Irrigation of citruses trees during flowering: there are different opinions between heavy irrigation and refrain irrigation.
The importance is to have a look on research that could be applied instead of trying from the very beginning from scratch each time. In other words: we are trying to invent the wheel in many processes that sometimes costs (kills) the crop.
The issue is that the advisers in the market and engineers are commercial agents who hold high certificates but are far away from knowledge and business ethics. This reflects on how the Egyptian education system is pressurized by the economic and social situation.
- Why did you loose so much time?
For every cycle (production, hydroponics, processing,…) we received wrong advise which made us lose every time 3 months. More in particular we lost time with
- structure with sunlight
- Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) system irrigation plan
- Oxygen level in Deep Water Culture (DWC)
- Applying fog system specially in germination room: there is a damage of 80% in the production line and no plant reparation
- The nutrient solution sold has a too high precipitation
- Proper temperature, day/night /summer /winter
- How can you get a return on investment (RoI) when you involve researchers?
Researchers can cut 50% of our costs. Research may simply help avoid many wrong trails that involve almost two years of running expenses. It is essential to get information’s that could save time, money and effort and increase the yield and the quality of the produce.