FPFK ENVIRONMENT (AGROFORESTRY) PROJECT, NANDI/NYANDO
“Friends of nature”
FPFK environment project would not have come at a better time than this. This comes at a time when the world is facing environmental challenges and Kenya is not exceptional. Kenya for so long has taken their indigenous forests for granted. On that premise, they have been driven by capitalistic ideology, thus the wanton destruction of the forests for commercial gain without a thought of replenishing. The current erratic weather pattern is evident that the world and Kenya in particular is facing serious climate change. In order to mitigate these challenges, nations and organizations have pragmatically pulled resources to restore environment and make it even better.
FPFK and PMU in a concerted effort have worked together to ensure the target beneficiaries continue a sustainable agro-forestry project. The success of the project was anchored on the objective of the project sustainability. This includes but not limited to the already existing and well established CSO groups of Meteitei, Mbogo Valley and Tamu, the government’s directive to plant trees to increase the forest cover from the then 7% towards the internationally accepted minimum of 10%. The purpose of the project was to engage the community in plantation of tree seedlings to safe our planet earth a more so for health and wealthy living.
1.0 Objectives of the project
The main objective of the project was to ensure the tree seedlings were raised for the target are and beyond. The project leveraged on the established CSOs for maintenance and sustainability of the project.
1.2 Description of the activities
The 2018 activities took three fundamental dimensions: Raising of quality tree seedlings, maintenance of the nurseries and transplanting of the seedlings to increase the forest cover in the target area of Nandi escarpment and River Nyando Basin.
Environment Agroforestry project- Busy CSO members arranging seedlings in a tree nursery(1)
It was notable that the activity period of 2018, ended with successful raising of quality seedlings as planned within the project
Cassuarina and Nandi flame, Elgon Teak among others. The project raised exotic, indigenous and fruit trees to meet the demand of the target community. This was characterized by both indigenous and exotic varieties. A total of about 20,000 seedlings were raised in Meteitei, Mbogo Valley and Tamu cohorts.
The main participants were the registered CSO members and vibrant young students from the nearby schools. This involvement bore fruit since it became a springboard towards inculcating the spirit of ownership and responsibility over the environment. In addition to that, there is the emerging desire for growing coffee in the target areas. This created an impetus to diversifying the seedlings for economic empowerment. Approaching KALRO for seeds ensured quality seedlings. Live testimonies from the pupils involved in planting trees have had far reaching implication both mentally and socially in the society. Engaging the members of the CSO and school going children in protecting our environment is an assurance of a bright future.
It is prudent to underscore that the project achieved quite a number of achievements during this season. These can be enumerated as follows:
- A total of about 20,750 seedlings were raised and transplanted during this season in the target area and beyond.
- Solidarity and continuity of CSO groups for sustainability of the project.
- Increased forests cover particularly in the target area and beyond. The government has promised to embark on serious tree planting, thus calling for our Civil Society Organizations to up the game of producing more seedlings.
- Mutual Corporation among the CSOs, the community and the government agencies such as NEMA, KEFRI, schools, KFS and County Governments of Kisumu and Nandi to achieve the project’s objectives.
- Drawing from the first phase into the current sustainability phase, Julius who is one of the CSO member had this to say,
“I have planted 1000 trees seedlings from this nursery since the commencement of the project and now it is fulfilling to see them growing. I look forward to harvesting soon to assist my children pay school fee. I am grateful for this initiative and promise to continue and encourage others”
1.4 CHALLENGES ENCOUNTERED
The project implementation encountered the following challenges.
1). Slow production of seedling production as a result of NEMA’s ban on plastic tubes for raising seedlings. This hampered production since the ban did not provide an alternative yet at the same time any defiance of the same would attract a heavy penalty. Although the ban disenfranchised the activities of the project, it worked for the good of the environment. Finally, NEMA provided an alternative that was friendly to the environment at the same time support the project activities.
- Another challenge is the delay of funds from PMU given the prevailing circumstances then. This to an extent halted flow of activities.
- Scarcity of water during the long drought. This can be mitigated through installation of high capacity tanks of drilling of water boreholes for a permanent solution.
The goal of the project was to maintain the nurseries for sustainability. Nonetheless, it encountered the aforementioned challenges. Despite that, it posted significant success towards achieving its objectives. These challenges were great lessons and stepping stones that the CSOs drew lessons and used for the sustainability of the project. It goes without saying that the high demand of seedlings and CSO’s passionate approach to work is a clear indication informing the sustainability of the nurseries. It is fulfilling to reiterate that the project is sustainable. It is on the same breath that we echo the words of the Nobel Peace Prize winner the late Hon. Wangari Mathai, that nature is unforgiving. If humanity is friendly to nature, they stand to reap more.