Treeplanting in Kenya
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CTA. 1989. Treeplanting in Kenya. Spore 22. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45094
(Adapted from 'The Greening of Africa' with the permission of the author Paul Harrison. Published 1987 by Grafton Books - UKL4.95 - ISBN 0 586 08642 0)
Kenya leads Africa in tree-planting. According to a 1983 survey, four out of five households had planted trees in the preceding 12 months, and two out of five had their own tree nurseries. The story of the years leading up to this achievement show that Kenya's success is replicable. In 1971 the Kenya Forestry Department launched the Rural Afforestahon Extension Scheme, which aimed to provide one extension worker in each District to advise community and government nurseries. This was followed in 1975 by the soil conservation programme which recommended the planting of trees along terraces. Woodfuel shortages were counteracted by the creation of a Ministry of Energy in 1979, Presidential directives in the early Eighties stated that all local government offices and schools must have a tree nursery and agroforesty plot, and in 1985 the presidenhal Tree Fund was set up to encourage planting. In a single week in 1983 three million trees were planted. Added to these statutory efforts is the work of as many as 60 voluntary organizations which promote tree-planting. But it is the enterprise of the ordinary Kenyan that has put the country in the forefront of re-afforestation - now a national passion- as two examples of individual initiahve demonstrate. In 1968 Stephen Wanje bought 43 acres of eroded hillsides in western Kenya. To the derision of his neighbours he first built terraces, then planted trees, and is now more then self sufficient in fuel and timber. His farm exemplifies the principles of intensive organic farming and recycling. Bee-hives shelter under the trees; in a hollow there are four fish ponds. On a small area of flatland he grows napier grass as fodder for his ten cross-bred cows. Their dung provides fertilizer and feeds a biogas plant which heats and lights Wanje's house. Another smallholder Boaz Mukah grows eucalyptus on a 60, one-hectare,slope. In the high rainfall of the area the trees grow ten metres a year and can be coppiced every two years. Mukati sells 1500 trees each year - mainly as poles for housebuilding - and these earn him more than most factory workers make. Even reluctant smallholders are forced into tree-planting by circumstance. One man who relied almost totally on charcoal-making for an income had to fell almost all his trees in the drought year of 1983-84 to survive. Thus replanting was an economic necessity. Kenya's success is in large measure the result of the fact that smallholders have full ownership and control of their land, and so have the flexibility to respond to shortages, surpluses, and market prices. Also, the state is fully committed to treeplanting, and backs up this commitment with cash, resources, and publicity campaigns. (Adapted from 'The Greening of Africa' with the permission of the author Paul Harrison. Published 1987 by Grafton Books - UKL4.95 - ISBN 0 586 08642 0)