Nurseries and training 1
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CTA. 2007. Nurseries and training 1. Rural Radio Resource Pack 07/5. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57265
What to consider when setting up your own nursery.
Nurseries and training 1 Cue: Tree nurseries are wonderful places. Especially if they are full of young indigenous or local fruit trees with all that potential to provide nutritious fruits as well as additional income to farming families. But if the nurseries are far away from where farmers live there is little hope that they will get the chance to buy good seedlings for planting. This is why the World Agroforestry Centre ? known as ICRAF ? is recruiting and encouraging farmers to set up tree nurseries in their communities. In Kenya, Jonathan Muriuki from ICRAF has been training these nursery farmers to cultivate local varieties of tamarind, for example. Eric Kadenge went to meet him to find out how to make a successful business of a community tree nursery. And, most importantly, to ask how much of a market there is these days for seedlings of local trees? IN: ?Unlike crops people don?t buy seeds of trees... OUT: ?depending on your nursery entirely.? DUR?N: 3?48? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Suggested BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Sounds like there is money to be made in tree seedlings, not to mention the income from sales of the fruits/nuts of the mature trees. Jonathan Muriuki was talking with Eric Kadenge. The interview comes from a resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Muriuki Unlike crops people don?t buy seeds of trees. They normally want to buy seedlings because their planting programmes are smaller, especially for the small-scale farmers. And the nearer the nursery is to the farmer the better. We would rather farmers have their own nurseries where farmers can easily come and buy from the nurseries that are close to them. That is the purpose of setting up these nurseries. Kadenge So you believe that is better of them to have and to own and to run these nurseries? Muriuki Yes that is the best thing to do because farmers are not going to go a long distance to get seedlings and when the rains come farmers are busy doing very many things. So the nearer the nursery, then the better for them to plant trees. Kadenge When it comes to decision making about issues regarding a nursery, do they do it on their own, or are you involved in that? Muriuki Farmers make decisions on their own in setting up their nurseries. But however sometimes other organisations like the Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya Forest Service, they sometimes consult with farmers and guide them on what to do Kadenge When you talk about what to do I take that to be training? Muriuki Yes that is training because, if I give an example of this country we have got about 1800 tree species that are indigenous in this country, that means that farmers need to learn a lot of things about every individual tree species that is important to them, so scientists and extensionists have to come and train them on some of these techniques. Kadenge What are some of the common trees that you are training them on how to build nurseries for? Muriuki Some of the common trees that we have trained them on how to do nurseries for are most of them are exotic but for the indigenous pieces we have trees like mangoes. Kadenge What advice would you give to somebody who is listening to this programme, for example through radio on how to set up their own nursery? Muriuki One, it is very important that you have a permanent source of water. That can be a permanent river or it can be a tap, piped water or anything but as long as you are going to set up a nursery water is going to be very critical, it as going to be a day to day affair. We have seen many nurseries that have shut down because they could have water to sustain them. Unfortunately for most of the areas, water becomes scarce when the nursery needs it most, so having a permanent source of water is very important. It is also very important to know where you can be able get a rich soil. That is rich in organic matter because that is what the seedling is going to be depending on for the next three, four or six months that it is going to be in the nursery. So if you are near a forest then you can collect the soil from the forest, if you are not near a forest then you can collect organic matter from elsewhere and make compost, which then is going to mixed up in the soil that you have. It is also good to ensure that you have about a quarter of an acre to half and acre where you are going to set up your own nursery, because you need structures in there: a place where you will be having a shed for the seedlings, and a place where you will move them out of the shed, a place where you are going to store your tools that you are working with in the nursery, and a place whereby when people come to buy seedlings or to collect seedlings from you they can stay there because you do not want people moving around your nursery and messing up the seedlings that are there. And also, the hardening. Hardening is moving how you prepare the seeding from coming out of the nursery to the field conditions where it is going to be harsh and it is going to experience conditions that are not as it was in the nursery. So at least a quarter of an acre is important for you. And above all things it should be on a sloping land because some of the water that you will be pouring there should not stall, because if it stores then your seedlings are going to be sick. All the water is supposed to drain. Kadenge Is this something that they could also do and earn some extra shilling from? Muriuki Yes as long as you have demand for seedlings. We have done our research and we have seen that farmers can make a lot of money from nurseries. Actually we have seen farmers that are in the cities or in the peri-urban areas of the city, who are completely and entirely relying on the money that comes from nurseries. For the common prices of seedlings that we see, about half of it is profit, that is if you inject faming labour into your nursery. Therefore you can make money on it depending on your nursery entirely. End of track.