As part of this regular series, we speak with experts from around the world of Finlays. This month, we’re delighted to hear from Regina Mutai Rono who is Assistant Research Manager at James Finlay Kenya.
Hi Regina, please tell us about yourself
I’m an enthusiastic biologist with a passion for crop protection and conservation. I have wide base in general biology and a speciality in Plant Pathology.
Tell us more about your role at James Finlay Kenya
I’m a land steward and an active player in our agrochemical reduction strategy which aims to reduce the use agrochemicals. My department offers technical support to the tea estates with the aim of improving the quality and yield of the tea we produce. These activities encompass crop management from nursery, land preparation, tea planting, nutrition, pest management, selective harvesting, regenerative pruning, soil testing and commensurate fertiliser application.
What is your approach to Quality?
Quality commences at the nursery with clean planting material of market-oriented varieties that are adaptable to climate and mechanisation. The economic lifespan of a tea plant can go over 50 years if well managed. The health of tea bushes is further maintained by good agricultural practices (GAP) and integrated pest management (IPM).
Tell us more about IPM
IPM involves the use of eco-friendly approaches to pest management and limitation of chemical usage. Looking for pests and diseases gives us a baseline threshold of their occurrence which helps with subsequent management decisions. The main chemical used in tea plantations are the herbicides judiciously used on the target weeds and in field perimeters. Support on safe usage of chemicals is offered through training, equipment calibration and implementation of the chemical usage policy.
What is your experience of working for Finlays?
I’m proud to be a part of Finlays’ operations team, which is working hard to ensure that the organisation not only meets customer requirements, but also its own needs and obligations in a sustainable manner.
Thank you for joining us Regina.