Commercial Tree Growing

By Caroline Kahuria
Commercial tree growing is a venture that is becoming popular with the farmers, considering its financial and environmental benefits. More and more farmers are involving themselves in tree growing each day and without a doubt are minting massive benefits from the same.

This is precisely because the demand for forest resources. According to the Kenya Forest Master plan(1994) the current annual wood consumption stands at 43,000,000m² while the supply of the same is 30,000,000m², therefore filling the gap as a country is very important, and is only possible through engaging farmers to plant trees in their farms for commercial purposes.

Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has teamed up with Tree Biotechnology Programme Trust (TBPT) to promote and intensify commercial forestry development in the country. This partnership will see to it that farmer’s more so small holder farmer receive the right information through extension services and publications. KFS will ensure that farmers are well informed regarding what tree seedlings to plant in different areas; the TBPT will be tasked with producing new improved commercial tree seedlings that are suitable for different Counties in the country.
This initiative is aimed at eliminating the problems farmers encounter through sale of substandard tree seedlings by individuals who are keen on sale but lack technical advice to the farmers ultimately leading to losses experienced by the farmers. Subsequently the quality of farmers’ private plantations is compromised leading to low quality forest products and financial returns. This therefore will require that KFS Officers in all regions offer advice on the best tree seedlings to maximize on returns, and order them for the farmers on request.
Speaking regarding the initiative, KFS Forest Extension Officer Mr. Joseph Njigoya said that farmers had accepted the initiative in a big way. “Farmers have embraced the initiative very positively; we are targeting to establish 1,200 Ha of private forest plantations and hence plant 2 million seedlings this financial year through this initiative, and we have already received orders for 1,794,275 seedlings. It is encouraging that farmers have embraced the initiative, and are also benefiting greatly from it”.   He noted.   
The tree growing efforts will enable the country achieve 10% forest cover and still empower the farmers economically. Farmers in different counties are therefore urged to register with KFS Offices and place their orders for improved Eucalyptus species to be provided by TBPT.


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