Tree nursery

Like many places, western Kenya has suffered severe deforestation for individual and commercial use. Overpopulation means that the available land is over-farmed and devoid of nutrients. There are also problems of soil erosion and inadequate drainage of soil (a particular problem in western Kenya which has been experiencing unseasonably high rain fall in recent years).

Following discussion with community leaders, it emerged that there was awareness of the value of trees, and that local people would buy and plant tree seedlings if they were available. Several of our groups now operate the first tree nursery in the area. The seeds (both exotic and indigenous) are obtained from the International Centre for Research into Agroforestry (ICRAF) in western Kenya, so are of excellent quality and suited to the local area. Trees grow quickly in the tropics, so the benefits are soon seen and felt in the increased shade and beauty of the environment, reduction in dust, and increased production from crops and livestock.

Tree planting in Kenya has a wonderful precedent in the work of Wangari Maathai, the founder of the Green Belt Movement, which has planted more than 30 million trees across Kenya. She won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize "for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace." To read more about Wangarai Maathai, and in particular the reasons underpinning her commitment to tree planting, click here.