Acacia for charcoal How much is your plantation worth? Digging for water in dry riverbeds The story of Economic Housing Group The commercial possibilities of the doum palm
Ksh 250 Ush 7,000 I s s u e N o.6 Ap r il - J u ne 2 0 1 0
Staring death in the face The Bududa tragedy in Uganda shows how deforestation can bring disaster
As smooth asâ€Ś The potential for silk farming in the dry lands
People power Involving communities in forest management
A forest of activities An overview of the wood industry in Kenya 7 174000 121003 >
We salute our contributors
News and views
A forest of activities
The king of palm wood The beautiful doum offers opportunities for commercial exploitation
Success grown from wood The story of Economic Housing Group
How much is your plantation worth? Factors that determine the value of your tree crop
An overview of the wood industry in Kenya
Acacias for charcoal Community groups show the way
Tunisian tabias and jessours may hold the answer for water management in drylands
Staring death in the face The armageddon in Bududa is a reminder of how deforestation can brew human tragedy
A solution for semi arid regions
Water from dry riverbeds Knowing where to dig for the precious commodity
People power Involving communities in forest management
Trees for the coast A hands-on tree-grower gives some pointers
A tonic for dry lands Medicinal plants could rehabilitate degraded land
As smooth as…
Ready for take-off Fund-raising and planting of trees for the Nairobi GreenLine has kicked off
The potential for silk farming in the drylands
The woodcarvers of Wamunyu They look back with nostalgia at a craft now facing serious challenges
Working together Partnerships between tree growers and wood industries
Charcoal: Not old-fashioned and outdated The sector can shake off a negative image and be part of a sustainable future
The trees will sprout Ugandan wood and furniture dealer sees a bright future in the industry
Acacia for charcoal How muc h is you r plantatio Digging n worth? for water in dry rive The stor rbeds y of Econ omic Hou The com sing Gro mercial up possibil doum palm ities of the bea utifu
On the cover: Properly stacked timber for air-drying in Naivasha (EGH). Two-inch thick timber will take about two months to get down to about 10% moisture Staring de content. ath in th e face It is a simple measure As smoo th as … to obtain better quality furniture and woodwork, People po wer but in reality not always A forest of activit practised by many timber ies users. l
The Budu da how defor tragedy in Ug anda sho estation ws can bring disaster
The poten tial for silk farming in the dry lands
Involving commu nities in forest ma nageme nt An overvi ew of the wood ind ustry in Kenya
Issu e No.6 Apr il Jun e 201 0
We salute our contributors
n mathematics, six is the smallest perfect number. It is also the number of strong issues that have been produced by our strong editorial team of very qualified people in all matters of tree planting, mainly in arid and semi arid lands (ASAL). The number also has a series of issues that only mathematicians understand, but what we do understand at Miti is the importance of trees. In this issue, Moses Watasa of Uganda’s National Forestry Authority (NFA) explains how deforestation threatens lives, literally causing death, while Fridah Mugo enlightens us on how charcoal is not oldfashioned. Jan Vandenabeele has been very active again with an article about the woodcarvers of Wamunyu and an interesting insight on how Economic Housing Group (EHG) became a success in the wood processing industry. Joshua Cheboiwo and David Langat show us the way forward and the challenges facing partnerships between tree growers and the wood industry. Erik Nissen-Petersen illustrates how water can be collected from dry riverbeds and Herman Verlodt shows us that water issues are all over the world and how Tunisian tabias and jessours may provide answers for utilisation of water in Kenyan drylands. The future of the timber industry in Uganda is bright, says Roland Nkwitsana, a furniture manufacturer in Kampala. Clement Ng’oriareng will open many eyes with his article on the Ziziphus tree species and the potential for silk farming in drylands. Last but not least, let us blow a candle for our partner KFS, whose revenue generation is set to attain the one billion shilling mark by June 2010. All contributors to Miti do it on a voluntary basis, their sole aim being to propagate information and knowledge at their disposal as far as possible. They believe in this magazine and we are immensely grateful for their valuable input. We at Miti also believe in our subscribers and readers as they are the future for a greener and therefore wealthier and happier environment; even happier life in Africa.
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Miti April-June 2010
KFS revenue to hit 1b mark by June
he Kenya Forest Service (KFS) is set to attain the Ksh one billion mark in revenue generation by June 2010. Established just three years ago, KFS has identified relevant and promising income sources that add value to conservation and provide essential services to Kenyans. Speaking during the opening of a sensitisation workshop for 70 newly recruited KFS accountants in Nakuru in late March, the KFS Director David Mbugua said most of the revenue growth is from recently identified revenue sources and tightening loopholes that lead to revenue loss at district levels. “We have begun collecting payments for
environmental services including charging for water extraction and installations of windmills and antennae in gazetted forests, ecotourism, and currently generating a REDD plan that will increase revenue collection from carbon financing,” said Mr Mbugua. Legislation of the estimated Ksh 32 billion charcoal industry has been passed and the modalities of implementation are being finalised. This has great potential for revenue, particularly in the arid and semi-arid areas that comprise 80 per cent of Kenya’s land area. The projected growth is about 100 per cent from the 2008/09 fiscal year when the Service generated Ksh 550,000,000. The Deputy Director
for Finance, Peter Rutto, said that non-traditional sources of forestry related revenue are being explored with very positive results. “In the past, royalties from timber sales were the main source of revenue, but with the logging ban, we have developed a rich catalogue of non-timber forest products driven by market needs. Once the ban is lifted we hope for a substantial boost in our revenue streams,“ said Mr Rutto. The organisation has been experiencing steady growth and stability that have provided for expansion of operations and consolidation of resources streams for sustainable management.
Miti Inbox Improve the print quality I have read the last three issues of Miti and I find it very informative. I enjoyed the article on fruit growing in arid and semi arid lands (ASAL) and was fascinated to learn that we have even more water than I realised in our drylands. I am looking forward to other informative articles. However, you need to look into your printing quality. The printing on some of the pages is grey, not black, and it is difficult to read, especially
Please send me back issues I came across Miti issue 5 in a friend’s office. I borrowed and read it from cover to cover. I found it very informative. The story of Jürgen Griesbach, Kenya’s “Baba Matunda” fascinated me. I did not realise we had so much history and knowledge in our backyard. Thank you Miti for seeking out this resourceful person. I have been missing a lot by not reading Miti. I am subscribing to the magazine immediately, but I would also like to read and keep the issues I have missed. Is it possible to get issues 1, 2, 3 and 4? I have sent the money by MPESA. Charles Mavuno Nairobi
at night. Again, although most of the photos in issue 5 were good (I particularly liked the photograph on the cover) some of the inside photos were not very sharp. Please pay attention to these details to improve on the all-round quality of the magazine. Robert Musau Nairobi
Give us more from Uganda I have been a faithful reader of Miti, right from issue 1. The first three issues of the magazine had at least two articles on Uganda. We expected this number to rise, but we Ugandan readers are disappointed that Miti issue 5 carried only one article on Uganda. Please give us more Ugandan content. Joshua Mukasa Kampala We have heard your cry, Ugandan readers. This issue has two Ugandan articles and we promise you that Ugandan content will increase steadily. We have taken measures to ensure this. Stay with us. -Editor
Thank you Mr Mavuno for your kind words on Miti. We have sent Miti 1, 2, 3 and 4 to you as requested. -Editor
WRITE TO US We welcome both positive and negative feedback on any article you have read in Miti. We welcome your views on what areas to cover, how to present the magazine and any other information on how to improve the publication. Please send your comments to:
The Editor, Miti, P.O. Box 823 – 00606, Nairobi, Kenya. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 22232, Kampala, Uganda. Email: email@example.com
Miti April-June 2010
TOP: Bamboo furniture workshop at the Forest Products Research Centre (KEFRI), Karura. RIGHT: A small sawmill with a circular saw, at KEFRIâ€™s Wood Processing Centre.
A forest of activities An overview of the wood industry in Kenya By Joseph Githiomi
enya has 3.467 million hectares of forest cover, which is equivalent to 5.9 per cent of its land area. Out of this, 1.417 million hectares or 2.4 per cent of the total area comprises indigenous closed canopy forest, mangroves and plantations in both public and private lands (KFS Strategic Plan 2009). These forests provide the raw material for forest products industries all over the country. Forest industries can be classified as wood-based and non-wood-based. Wood based industries are further divided into mechanical wood industry and pulp and paper industry. The mechanical wood industry includes sawmilling, wood-based panel manufacture (plywood, particleboards and fibreboards), wood processing and pole production.
Miti April-June 2010
Sawmilling According to a survey carried out by Kenya Forestry Master Plan in 1994, there were some 450 sawmills and saw benches in Kenya, with an annual consumption of about 540,000 m3 of saw logs and producing about 200,000 m3 of sawn timber annually (KFMP 1994). The sawmill capacities varied from less than 500 m3 of log input to over 30,000 m3 per annum in big mills. The mills could therefore be categorised into three, namely: small scale, medium scale and large scale, with over 80 per cent of sawmills being small scale. The majority of small scale sawmills had old, inefficient machinery where tractor engines, electric motors and saws were used, with a low average recovery rate of 20 â€“ 35 per cent. Other causes of low recovery included the use of unskilled labour, thick saw blades, poor saw blade maintenance (saw
doctoring) and poor cutting practices. Drying of timber, either by air or by kiln, did not take place, and almost all produce was sold in a wet state. However, with the 1999 ban on timber harvesting, most small scale sawmills closed down. The few that are still operating get their supply from farmlands. Some tea estates operate sawmills using their own plantation materials while others use logs from farmlands. The ban on timber harvesting has made on-farm timber processing (using inefficient chain saws) very popular and therefore depleting the countryside of trees of more than 30cm diameter. It is hoped that the government will lift the ban on timber harvesting soon, and give timber licences to efficient sawmills, preferably with band saws, for a higher timber recovery.
KPLC transmission poles.
Plywood Plywood production in Kenya started in the early 1980s. There are three plywood mills that are also integrated with sawmills in the country. These are Timsales, Comply and Rai Plywood. Elgeiyo Sawmills Limited, which used to make plywood, closed due to non-availability of materials. The industries produce good quality interior grade plywood with thickness ranging from 3 to 25 mm. Pine accounts for 80 per cent of the input, followed by cypress, which is harder to process. Annual labour productivity is estimated at 20m3/person, which is low. This can be improved by investing in machinery that can process smaller sized logs. The ban on indigenous hardwoods, through necessary, hinders the production of high valued plywood for furniture and interiors. Lack of pruning and thinning has also led to the production of lower quality raw material.
Pulp and paper industry
Reconstituted wood products comprise fibreboards and particleboards. Timsales Fibreboard Industry (formerly Sokoro Fibreboard) was established in early 1970 with an annual capacity of 7,000 tonnes. The technology employed in this factory is obsolete and needs to change for the factory to survive. There were two particleboard industries in Kenya - Rai Plywood Limited and Menengai Chipboard – but the latter has closed due to lack of raw materials. Though both were established in the 1980s, their output has remained low.
Paper consumption in Kenya is about 150,000 tonnes per year. Packaging paper and board represent about two-thirds of the market. Local production has not been able to supply the demand and about one-third is imported. The 87,000tonne capacity Pan African Paper Mills in Webuye, now under receivership, was the only company licensed to manufacture paper from wood. The company had been protected by high import duties and a bureaucratic import licensing system, but still went under in 2009. The government has now revived it as Webuye Paper Mills. The other paper manufacturing industries like Kenya Paper Mills, Madhupaper and others, obtain their raw materials from waste paper. Kenya’s paper and paperboard industry, though small by international standards, is one of the biggest in Africa.
Furniture and joinery industry
Tannin and resin industries
The furniture and joinery fixture products use approximately 77,672 m3 of timber per annum. This industry consists of hundreds of small-scale entrepreneurs both in the
There were two wattle tannin-extracting factories in Kenya - Kenya Tannin Extractors Company Limited (KTE) in Thika and East Africa Tannin Extraction Company Limited
Reconstituted wood-based panel industry
rural and urban areas, mainly in the informal sector. Indeed, jua kali artisans control over 60 per cent of the furniture market. Indigenous wood has traditionally been the raw material for furniture and joinery products. However, the ban on natural forest harvesting has forced a shift towards exotic hardwood, mostly obtained from the Congo. This sector also includes two prefabricated housing manufacturers – Economic Housing Group (EHG) and Timsales. (See article on EHG on pg 8)
(EATEC) in Eldoret. Both have closed but a new tannin factory has been set up in Athi River. There are two classes of resins, oleoresin and oleo-gum-resin. Oleoresin has greater industrial potential and it is tapped from Pinus patula, P. caribaea, P. elliottii and P. radiata. Rosin Kenya Limited in Nakuru, with an annual intake of 360 tonnes, is the only company tapping oleoresin in Kenya. Oleo-gum resin is tapped from acacia trees in North Eastern Province and marketed as a raw material without processing.
Transmission poles The bulk of wooden poles for power grids and telephone lines are from Eucalyptus saligna or Egrenolis of 10 to 23 years rotation, depending on the required size. Kenya Forest Service had been the main source of supply but companies like Timsales, Kakuzi and Unilever Tea, among others, are now supplying them. Timsales, one of the major suppliers of treated transmission poles, sources them from private farms. The poles are pressure treated with CCA to increase their lifespan. The rollout of the rural electrification programme has increased the demand for transmission poles. It is however possible that KPLC will start giving preference to reinforced concrete poles. Though more expensive, these are more durable and stable and give less problems with the “fittings” (the points where the crosses with the cables are attached to the pole.)
Woodcarving It is estimated that Kenya woodcarvers require some 600 tonnes of wood per year. The preferred species for wood carving are Dalbergia melanoxylon (mpingo) which
Miti April-June 2010
Pan African Paper Mills in Webuye.
have been exhausted and Brachylaena hutchinsii (muhugu) which is also in short supply. The famous neem tree or mwarubaini (Azadirachta indica) and mango are emerging as prime candidates for woodcarving. (See article on woodcarvers on pg 18)
Charcoal briquettes production Charcoal briquettes are mainly produced from coffee husks, excess sugar bagasse and charcoal wastes. The main export markets for charcoal briquettes in the past have been Saudi Arabia, Israel and Korea. One of the leading processors of charcoal briquettes for the local market is Chardust Limited.
Truss rafters production Trussed Rafters Development Unit (TRDU), under the Ministry of Housing, makes prefabricated roof trusses. Located in Ngong, the unit was formerly under the Ministry of Public Works. The unit is equipped with a simple industrialised set-up of truss fabrication jigs (which give support to truss members), fabricated hand-nailed metal plates and conventional woodworking machines. The prefabricated roof trusses are light in weight and are made from graded timber. A private company, Harry-Timber Engineering Services Limited (H-TES) located along Mombasa Road also makes prefabricated trusses. Truss rafters are gaining popularity in the construction industry due to savings in timber.
Opportunities in the development of the forest industry Kenya is an ideal location for wood industries due to availability of abundant
Miti April-June 2010
Trussed rafters made from graded cypress timber put into place on residential property in Nairobi. The rafters are designed to carry concrete tiles.
and affordable labour and is a member of regional trading bodies such as COMESA, which provide a large market for forest products. The ministry of industrialisation promotes industrial growth and reduction of manufacturing costs through granting exemption of import duty on all industrial spare parts. The ministry also grants a remission of duty on inputs for use by paper and paperboard mills. The proposed forest policy recognises the benefits of a viable and efficient forestbased industry for national development. With the ban on timber harvesting from gazetted forests, there has been increased on-farm tree planting, thus increasing the forest resource base. There is also potential for production of pulp and paper from other raw material of agricultural wastes e.g. bagasse. With the planting of fast-growing bamboo on-farm, there is potential for the development of bamboo furniture making, which is being promoted by the KEFRI- Forest Product Research Centre. Bamboo can also be used in pulp and papermaking.
Challenges to forest industry development The government ban on timber harvesting has resulted in insufficient wood for forest industries, leading to the closure of a number of industries. The existence of outdated and inefficient forest industry technologies mainly contributed to the initial government strategy on import-substitution
industrialisation (ISI). There is a shortage of trained personnel, especially in the sawmill industry, where most are operated as family businesses. Due to scarcity of timber, wood products have become very expensive and are being edged out of the market by plastic furniture, T and G ceilings, doorframes and cornices, etc. Timber products from farms are of low quality as there has been no proper silvicultural management of the trees.
The way forward for forest-based industries The government should develop policies to facilitate the promotion of efficient conversion technologies, product quality improvement and development of forest product markets. The ban on logging should be lifted so that over-mature logs rotting away in government plantations are used profitably. Arrangements should be made for forest products modernisation, which should include effective pollution control. The government should facilitate modernising forest industries through reducing import duties on machinery. The market intelligence system should be developed to provide forest products market information. Standards of forest products should be improved to attract local and export markets. The writer is Principal Research Officer, Kenya Forestry Research Institute. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Success grown from wood Economic Housing Group has built a reputation as an efficient, well-run operation By Jan Vandenabeele
n 1967, a young Canadian forestry expert, Charles Bengough, arrived in post-colonial Kenya to work in the Forest Department. He worked for five years in a successful bilateral project funded by the Canadian government (through CIDA â€“ Canadian International Development Agency) and the Kenyan government. Mr Bengough spotted a business opportunity in the provision of affordable prefabricated houses, furniture, doors and windows, and upon the expiry of his contract at the bilateral project, opted to stay in Kenya and start a business. Mr Bengough, together with two partners, founded the Economic Housing Group (EHG) in 1972 in Naivasha. Today, although the town is better known for its lake and the flower farms, EHG has also played a role in raising the profile of the town. The company is the biggest manufacturer of prefabricated houses in the East African region. The company has established its name and reputation, since the early days when the first breakthrough came. This was an order for eight one-bedroom prefabricated houses and furniture for a private sugar estate in Juba, south Somalia. That was when Siad Barre was still in power, before chaos descended there.
Today, EHG receives numerous orders from international organisations (UN related), non-governmental organisations, aid organisations, private companies like road contractors and individuals. The raw material the company uses is of course wood â€“ all Kenyan grown. About two-thirds of the wood EHG uses is pine (Pinus patula, P. radiata) while cypress makes the remaining one third. Since the 1999 ban on timber logging from government forests, sourcing timber in Kenya is a challenge. EHG relies on timber from Timsales Ltd, private sawmills (who get supplies from farmers), and tea companies, like James Finley in Kericho and Kapchorwa and Tinderet Tea estates in Nandi that have their own tree plantations. These tea growers have their own sawmills, sometimes very professionally run. EHG buys 20 to 25-year-old timber from these plantations, planted with advice from the same Charles Bengough who now provides the market. However, due to scarcity, timber prices in Kenya have gone up, and are about 50 per cent higher than international standards. For all industries using pine and cypress timber, this is a disastrous situation, all the more painful because growing conditions are excellent in East African highlands (mean annual increment of 20-25m3/ha/yr) and
there is a forest estate of 125,000ha. The possibility of growing the timber cheaply (daily wages of casuals at US $ 2-3 [Ksh 300]) versus an East African market of roughly 150 million consumers is seen by EHG as a fantastic opportunity for the private sector. EHG uses about 2,000m3 of wood per year, and takes care to dry it properly before processing. It is simple air-drying (10 per
Construction element for prefabricated house doors in a continous production line
Miti April-June 2010
Inside the housing assembly line. Everything is kept spotless, clean and well organised.
EHG workers preparing components for furniture. Note the piping above the planing machine, for sucking out sawdust and particles.
The window-making plant. Simple designs allow for efficient production.
Charles Bengough inside the EHG furniture showroom in Naivasha.
cent moisture), providing good circulation of air through carefully stacked timbers. Depending on the thickness of the timber, it is ready after a couple of months (1” one month, 2” two months). For prefabricated constructions like emergency shelters, EHG now also uses “Ekoboard”, which is manufactured by Ekotech from Tetrapak packaging material waste. This recycled material does not need to be preserved against termites and is not attacked by fungi. EHG’s prefabricated housing section makes residential houses, guesthouses, staff houses, offices, community buildings and schools, and also does project development and site layout. There is a wide choice of architectural designs, using a modular system originally developed in cooperation with the Department of Architecture at the University of Nairobi. All work is done in-house, including making kitchens and treating timber. In the social field, EHG provides
Miti April-June 2010
employment for 100-200 people, comprising its contractual workers in Naivasha, its Nairobi office and its various building sites and casual labour when required. Walking through the company’s factories, one is impressed by the cleanliness of the buildings, the warning signs on the walls (“Keep your working area clean! Use your safety equipment all the time!”) and the order and organisation in the workshops. The workers are well taken care of, benefiting from a system of bonuses and medical benefits. To what does EHG owe its success? First, the simplicity of what is manufactured, and its mass production in continuous, separated, production lines. Components of prefabricated houses and furniture can be interchanged between different models. It is all straight lines, no curves and no tailor-made chairs or tables. Secondly, the technical skills of Emmanuel Njau, who was headhunted to become part of the company since its early days, and who brought with him a rich experience in timber processing. He became a shareholder and is now one of the directors. He learned his trade in the 1970s at Moshi Technical School in Tanzania, and afterwards he trained in logging and woodworking at a forest training centre, also in Moshi, then at the High Wycombe College of Technology, UK. He sees the commercial
benefits of large-scale production processes and advises small workshops to get together to form bigger entities. Thirdly, EHG owes its success to the networking skills and stubborn determination of the directors/owners, who have been pursuing the growth of their company in the workshop and on the shop floor, handson and pragmatically. For instance, the company imports good, used, woodworking machinery from Europe – basic machinery, not sophisticated. EHG also reinvests profits, extending the infrastructure, building up stock and investing in machinery. Typically, the company’s management does not take shortcuts, and practices clean business dealings. Contracts are secured through competitive and clean bidding, with no shady deals. Timber suppliers must have all the required permits. The company’s vision is longterm and customer-oriented. EHG clearly is a successful industry with a bright future. As the directors of the company are growing older, we wish them a good handover to a younger generation of managers, and a happy retirement. The writer is the Executive Director, Better Globe Forestry Ltd
Staring death in the face The armageddon in Bududa is a grotesque reminder of how deforestation can brew extreme human tragedy By Moses Watasa
s Uganda grapples with the killer landslides in Bududa (on the slopes on Mt. Elgon), consensus is that deforestation heightened the tragedy. Mountainous areas are getting more vulnerable to mudslides as trees that hold water and soil are depleted. In this particular sub-region, encroaching locals have been at loggerheads with conservation agencies over the years. Further to the vital emergency supplies, the tragedy should galvanise conservation and treeplanting interventions. The National Forestry Authority (NFA) is drawing renewed inspiration from the government. With support from the Ministry of Water and Environment, some ecologically sensitive Central Forest Reserves (CFRs) like Namwasa and Luwunga (in Mubende and Kiboga respectively) are encroachment-free. Illegal settlers have complied with a December 2009 requirement from the government to evacuate by March 1, 2010. This evacuation provides insights on encroachment challenges in Uganda. A mapping exercise by NFA in Namwasa and Luwunga CFRs unmasked deep-rooted cynicism portraying land in Protected Areas (PAs) as “free”. “Historical” encroachers settled in these CFRs prior to 1992 but the bulk of the 12,000 illegal settlers came in after 2005. Indeed, most evacuating encroachers conceded to have migrated from their ancestral lands to settle in the “free land”. The presence of up to 300,000 encroachers in CFRs countrywide can therefore be attributed largely to this fallacy. Uganda therefore loses an annual forest cover of 7,000 hectares PAs to human settlement and illicit extraction of forest produce. Deforestation in cattle-corridor areas where Luwunga and Namwasa CFRs are located threatens water sources, farming and livelihoods. Elsewhere, Butaleja district (Eastern Uganda) which looks like an extended soccer pitch (due to deforestation) is grappling with floods. In business terms, encroachment frustrates the establishment of commercial plantations. In Namwasa and Luwunga CFRs, 8,000 hectares allocated to The New Forests Company for plantation expansion is nothing but crop gardens and households. This is sabotage of a multi-billion investment creating jobs,
Surviving residents walking away from the disaster.
The immediate aftermath. A boy covered in mud wanders around the scene, still not believing what happened.
paying taxes and extending vital infrastructure to communities. Individual medium-scale tree farmers with subsidies from the Saw Log Production Grant Scheme (SPGS) are also constrained by encroachment. NFA has a growing number of corporate bodies supporting restoration of natural forests with indigenous trees. However, some of NFA’s partner corporate entities like MTN-Uganda, the British Council, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and Posta Uganda are concerned about encroachment. Uganda’s encroached CFRs have “no-go” areas inhabited by criminals cultivating and consuming marijuana. Some have been implicated in violent crime like rape and attacking forest rangers. In Mayuge district, a “forest-ownership” brawl between encroachers claimed three lives. Other CFRs also host suspected unregistered aliens masquerading as encroachers.
Addressing encroachment in a phased (orderly) manner therefore resolves deforestation and other complex challenges. A December 2009 multi-stakeholder meeting on Luwunga and Namwasa CFRs resolved that encroachers return to their ancestral lands. The few who settled in by 1992 were recommended for compensation. Local leaders have worked with NFA and the police for peaceful evacuation. Activities to re-plant trees in the two CFRs are under way. Initial mass tree planting by NFA and The New Forests Company takes place between March and May 2010. The restoration action-plan provides for full “re-greening” of the CFRs by the end of 2011. The government’s decisive intervention in Namwasa and Luwunga CFRs is highly commendable. However, Uganda has other encroached PAs of colossal economic and ecological value where we can explore this approach. The armageddon in Bududa is a grotesque reminder of how deforestation for short-term “benefit” can brew extreme human tragedy. The writer is the Public Relations Manager, National Forestry Authority. email@example.com
Miti April-June 2010
People power Involving communities in forest management: The case of Castle Forest By Martin Kamau Gitau
he Kenyan Forest Act (2005) shows a shift in government policy from centralisation to decentralisation of responsibilities and service delivery. People living in the neighbourhood of gazetted forests and plantations get a say in the management of the resource. This process is called Participatory Forest Management (PFM), and for it to be implemented successfully, the communities have to understand the new laws that govern and regulate environmental management, water and forests. PFM is in fact a set of arrangements where key stakeholders enter into mutually enforceable agreements that define their respective roles, responsibilities, benefits and authority in the management of a defined forest resource. It promotes mechanisms for working together that can also be used to address other issues that usually help to alleviate poverty and conserve natural resources. The key stakeholders are the community, local leaders and government representatives. This includes the local area chief, the Zonal Forester (previously called District Forest Officer), the representatives of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the National Environmental Management
Miti April-June 2010
The forester, Castle Forest Station, addresses the local community at Kamweti tree nursery. In the background is Castle Forest.
Authority (NEMA), the local Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) catchment officer, the livestock and agricultural officers and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or community based organisations (CBOs) working in the vicinity of the forest. It is a complex process, necessarily time consuming, and not cheap, as will be shown in the case of the preparation of the management plan of Castle Forest. Castle Forest is an indigenous forest in Kirinyaga district in Central Kenya, on the outskirts of the Mount Kenya Forests. For management
purposes, it is organised into six management blocks. As all forests in such densely populated areas, it is over-exploited by the people living around it. To stop the degradation and the eventual collapse of the ecological and social services it provides, the forest communities have to be strengthened, trained, actively involved and consulted so that they become a force that helps to protect and rehabilitate the forest. To this end, they have to own the process and the product, which ultimately is the Forest Management Agreement, a legal document signed
by the Director of KFS (Kenya Forest Service) declaring it an official PFM area. Hence, the Castle Forest Management Plan was formulated through a consultative process, supported by the Kirinyaga Ecosystems Self-Help Group, through financial support from the Green Zones project (funded by the African Development Bank). A private company that specialises in community based natural resources management, Nareda Consultants, was contracted for the purpose. They drafted a process that was organised and undertaken in four main phases; (i) community mobilisation, sensitisation and participation, (ii) training of a local planning team and assessment of the resource, (iii) preparation of the PFM plan for Castle Forest, (iv) legitimisation and ratification of the plan.
Phase I: Community mobilisation, sensitisation and participation To launch the PFM process, two community meetings were held in August 2009 in close vicinity of the forest. The venue was chosen to ensure participation of stakeholders living within a five-kilometre radius of the forest. During the meetings, the goal and objectives of the process were explained, as well as a preliminary identification of natural resources and man-made features inside the forest. In addition, the meetings were used to inform the public on the Forest Act 2005 and its provisions for participation and involvement of communities in the management of gazetted forests. The vehicle
for community participation according to the Act, is the formation of Community Forest Associations (CFAs), legally registered as such and recognised by KFS. The final objective of KFS is that CFAs will be established nationwide, and that they will become the principal partner of KFS. Since it is not impossible to work with everyone attending the meetings, those present selected a local planning team of 3035 members. Selection was based on gender, age, knowledge of the forest, interest groups (e.g. youth, women, incapacitated, etc) and geographical distribution. This local planning team now became the leading force in the development of the plan, helped by the consultant.
Phase II: Training of the local planning team and assessment of the forest This took place during a three-day Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) workshop held in August - September 2009. The team members were trained on participatory forest management, basic understanding of the Forests Act 2005, and in particular, provisions for community participation in the management of forests. Through the CBNRM process, essential data about the forest resources and utilisation was gathered. Community based natural resources management and collection of technical data was part of the programme. The team, KFS staff, local government
officials and other stakeholders deliberated on preparation of the management plan. There was a participatory mapping exercise based on a previously prepared inventory of the natural resources of Castle Forest and their importance to the people living around. The maps were based on trends of forest use as perceived by the locals. To illustrate the principles of forest management, two data maps were developed - the forest status of the past (1980) and the present (2009). The past map denoted a rich forest ecosystem providing essential goods and services, as degradation was low. The map of the present situation depicted a degraded forest ecosystem whose benefits to the community had declined or were no longer enjoyed by the adjacent community members due to improper utilisation. The maps contained the following features: adjacent settlement areas and key infrastructure, area under trees, vegetation and swamps etc, physical features (rivers, caves, etc), adjacent cropland, forest area being grazed (either legally or illegally), other features of interest. Building on the 2009 map, a future map was devised, with two scenarios: (i) without intervention, and (ii) with intervention, by the communities, to reverse current degradation. This map was called â€œthe vision mapâ€?, and showed the desired status of the
The local area chief addresses the community during a consultative meeting at Kamweti tree nursery, at the edge of Castle Forest. Without proper involvement of the locals, no sustainable management of the forest can ever be achieved.
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The lead facilitator (4th right) joins members of the Local Planning Team as they draw a participatory resource map for Castle Forest.
forest from the communityâ€™s point of view, with a zoning of land uses and activities that the community would like to implement during the next five years. These included areas under indigenous trees earmarked for rehabilitation, grazing areas (also under indigenous vegetation), and areas for various activities like bee keeping, aquaculture, sericulture, mushroom farming and ecotourism. This exercise included clearly the stakeholdersâ€™ identification and analysis of forest management and livelihood problems, both in terms of their causes and effects. Logically, options towards sustainable forest management were discussed and developed. In the process, this meant the development of the Castle Forest Management Planâ€™s vision, mission and purpose. Other essential data was also collected, through household questionnaires (with 90 households randomly sampled from around the forest), key informant interviews and technical mapping and biodiversity assessment. A specialist in GIS/remote sensing conducted this technical mapping, guided by two local residents. They plotted the different forest resource areas according to their zoning and use and special interests (like ecologically sensitive areas) making use of a GPS, photography and other existing forest maps. The coordinates of all plotted points was then downloaded and laid down over a map of the area. In particular, demarcation of the
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vegetation communities was based on literature review, a vegetation survey, use of topographic maps, and the Vegetation Zones around Mt Kenya interpreted from Landsat TM satellite imagery from 1976 and the 1990s. An ethno botanic survey determined the local uses of plant species of the forest, through interviews and discussions. In addition, a survey on wildlife took place, to identify the potential of eco-tourism and wildlife.
Phase III: Legitimisation and ratification of the Castle Forest Management Plan First, a zero draft report of the Castle PFM was completed during a workshop on October 8, 2009. Data collected previously was presented for authenticating and completing, in discussion with all stakeholders, including a representative of KFS head office. The zero draft was thoroughly scrutinised by everybody. The consultant, KFS and KWS officials conducted a question and answer session to clarify several issues to the local planning team. The gathering agreed on the final draft plan and the way forward. One of the key recommendations was to take the plan, with all its data, to the local communities, for them to ratify and legitimise the process and the product. The local planning team members were advised on how to present the results (with flip charts), and how to train the rest of the community
in the management of the forest. Issues emerging from these presentations were to be recorded and forwarded to the consultant for inclusion in the draft report.
Remaining steps: Signing of the Castle FMP by the director of KFS and declaration of Castle Forest as a PFM area, Negotiation and signing of a Forest Management Agreement. As can be seen, mass mobilisation of the community and sensitisation is an important component in the whole process. Lack of ownership of the process and the product eventually leads to unsuccessful implementation of the plans. Local people must be involved in the decision-making about the natural resource at their doorsteps, to guarantee its sustainable use, minimise conflict and distribute efficiently the benefits of the resource management. Challenges include the capacity and funds to realise such an exercise on a massive scale, and the fact that the new Forest Act is not well known by the public, particularly the existence, composition and role of Community Forest Associations. The writer is the Projects Coordinator, Natural Resources Management and Development Agency (Nareda Consultants Ltd), Nanyuki Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
A tonic for dry lands Medicinal plants could rehabilitate degraded land, generate household income and provide local affordable healthcare By James B Kungâ€™u
raditionally, dry lands have been viewed as having little potential for economic activities. However, in partnership with development agents, researchers and donors, communities in dry lands could build on the comparative advantage that such lands offer for cultivating medicinal plants to generate income, support human and livestock healthcare systems, and enhance the environment. Since ancient times, plants have been an indispensable source of both preventive and curative human medicine. Medicinal plants play an important role in the lives of rural people particularly in remote parts of developing countries where there are few health facilities. According to recent estimates by the World Health Organisation, more than 3.5 billion people in the developing world rely on plants as components of their primary health care. In Africa, more than 80 per cent of the population depends on medicinal plants for their medical needs (Garrity, 2004)1 and traditional medicine is viewed as the most appropriate for ailments like HIV/Aids. The number of traditional medical practitioners in Africa is far greater than that of western medical doctors (Marshall, 1988)2. In Kenya, it is estimated that over 90 per cent of the population use medicinal plants at one time or another. Herbalists are reported to handle over 88 per cent of reported cases of sicknesses, (Barnett, 2000; Wanjeru, 2003)3.
The supply of indigenous medicines depends on native plants, which are generally harvested from wild sources. In many dry areas, wild sources are declining due to land degradation, current harvesting practices, overgrazing and a lack of enforceable management regulations. This situation is even more pronounced in dry land zones where plant diversity is naturally
low. Dry land communities have the opportunity to use selected indigenous plant species to halt land degradation, and at the same time provide a sustainable source of affordable healthcare, food and income. Natural products (herbal medicines) have an estimated global market value of US $65 billion (WHO, 2001). A fraction of this market is economically appealing to sub-Sahara Africa, especially the dry Commiphora baluensis (itula), common in Ukambani lands where poverty levels are normally drylands, and easily distinguishable from other tree high. Natural resource managers should species because of its blue bark. It occupies the 13th place in the top medicinal trees in Ukambani. no longer ignore this global market, which can contribute significantly to helping poor countries achieve the major contributions to sustainable millennium development goals (MDGs). natural resources management and offer The planting of medicinal plants should remunerative employment opportunities be encouraged for income generation for it for women and men, as well as link compares favourably with other important rural people to urban markets. They can crops like coffee and tea in high potential contribute to preventive measures in areas. Furthermore, medicinal plants do moderately degraded lands, as well as help not appear to be affected by overseas in reclaiming severely degraded dry lands. market and trade barriers that affect other Providing communities with materials commodities from developing countries. and the training to domesticate indigenous This presents a significant niche and trade plants as an investment can help restore opportunity that should be captured community resource bases. Planting and optimised by developing countries medicinal plants can help rehabilitate especially those in sub-Saharan Africa. degraded land, generate household Rural communities in dry areas can have income, provide local affordable healthcare an opportunity to use their indigenous and help fill the demands of a rapidly knowledge effectively to become serious expanding global market for natural health players in the global herbal medicine products. market. Local residents are well aware of the Land rehabilitation programmes plantsâ€™ ecological requirements and can based on medicinal plants can make play an important role in species selection. Village leadership and institutions (women and farmers) can facilitate the establishment of nurseries to produce seeds and seedlings. Maintenance of established planted sites (woodlots, rangelands, etc.) can be the responsibility of the local communities. In an era when most countries in sub-Saharan Africa are struggling with uncompetitive commodities due to trade barriers and agriculture subsidies in developed countries, growing of medicinal plants should be exploited fully.
1 Garrity, D. P. 2004. Agroforestry and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in P.K.R Nair, M.R.O and L.E. Buck (ed). New Vistas in Agroforestry. A Compendium for the 1st World Congress of Agroforestry. Kluwer Academic publishers.
2 Marshall, N. T., 1998. Searching for a Cure: Conservation of Medicinal Wildlife Resources in East and Southern Africa. Traffic International, United Kingdom.
3 Barnett, R., 2000. Traditional Medical Practitioners in Kenya: Putting Theory into Practice. In: TRAFFIC Bulletin Vol. 18. No. 3. Traffic Network. Wanjeru, J. K. 2003. Alternative Medicine: Why Many Kenyans are Turning to Herbal Medicine. In: Obaga, C. (ed). Business Options. Joynews Communications, Nairobi.
A lane of young neem (Azadirachta indica) trees. Though originally an exotic species (not indigenous to Africa), neem (mwarobaini) has conquered its place among important medicinal trees in Kenya. Note a young hedge of Acacia melllifera on the left hand corner.
Some of the most popular medicinal plants in the Ukambani areas of Kenya, and which can be domesticated are shown in the table on the opposite page. The writer is the head, Department of Environmental Sciences, Kenyatta University Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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THE TOP 41 MOST POPULAR MEDICINAL PLANTS WITH HERBALISTS IN UKAMBANI Number of herbalists using it to treat the identified diseases
Percentage in relation to all plants used
Common or local name
Malaria, joint pains, epilepsy, diabetes,
Malaria, asthma, pneumonia
Diarrhoea, stomach disorders, dysentery, toothache, STDs
Neem / Mwarubaini
Malaria, pneumonia, cough, cold
Colds, cough, chest infection
Pneumonia, malaria, diarrhoea
Joint pains, stomach ache
Typhoid, dysentery, pneumonia
Malaria, body pains, headache
Toothache, Malaria, body pains
Pepper tree, Muthiga
Stomach-aches, diarrhoea, fever, toothache and general muscle pain
Wait a bit thorn/Mukusw’i
Dysentery, body pains
Stomach disorders, toothache
Red hot poker tree/ Muvuti
ever, skin lesions, tonic
Peptic ulcers, diarrhoea, stomach disorders, Malaria, oedema
Fever, headache, intestinal infections
Malaria, stomach ache
Yellow fever, Typhoid
Asthma, ulcers, Malaria, women infertility
STDs, cold, chest and body pains
Stomach disorders, headache
The castor oil plant/Kivunu
Scurvy, wounds, throat infection, gall bladder, skin infection
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As smooth as … The potential for silk farming in the dry lands
he history of silk is as old as civilisation. The luxurious look and lustre of silk fabric are unquestionably unique. From its origin in China about 2,200 BC, the silk industry has had an adventurous course of evolution, becoming established with time in other parts of the world. Sericulture is the practice of raising silkworms to produce raw silk. The best-known commercial silkworm is the domesticated mulberry silkworm, Bombyx mori but other types of moths produce wild silk of commercial value. In East Africa, there are over 60 wild silk moth species. Examples include, Gonometa postica in Mwingi, Uasin Gishu and Arabuko Sokoke; Argema mimosae, in Makueni and Arabuko Sokoke and Anaphe panda from Kakamega Forest. The ziziphus species described in this article is found in the North Rift region. Wild silk moths require host plants to live in and feed on. Food plants play an important role in wild silk production and most non-mulberry silkworms feed on many different types of food. Eight primary food plants and several secondary food plants for different wild silk moths have so far been identified. They include several Acacia species, Brachystegia spiciformis and Lannea schweinfurthii, among others. For wild silk farming to be sustainable, farming as opposed to wild harvesting is encouraged. Care of the silkworms (using net sleeves at the early stages) and preservation of seed will ensure a continued population. The food plant for Epiphora bauhineae are from the genus Ziziphus.
Ziziphus mucronata (Tirokwo)
a) Ziziphus mucronata This is a wickedly armed scrambler, shrub or small tree with dropping tangled branches and thorns, that grows up to seven metres. It is widely distributed in drier tropical Africa and grows in a variety of soils. It is used for
firewood, charcoal, building poles, medicine (roots, leaves), fodder (fruit) and live fences. The tree bears small yellowish flowers. The fruit is rounded, dark reddish- brown when ripe, the pulp very acid and scarcely edible. Propagation is by seedlings, direct sowing and root suckers. The seed can be stored for up to 12 months. The species is difficult to handle due to its many hooked thorns. It is an important species in dry areas and widely liked for medicine. It is used for boils, skin infections and stomach and chest pains. The yellow pink wood is tough and bends well. Livestock and wild animals eat the fruit.
smaller and re-curved with the leaves arising between the two pair of thorns. The life cycle To undertake successful wild silk moth farming, it is important to know the life cycle information of the species found in one’s locality. The Pokot silk moth, for instance, passes through four main developmental stages - egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (enclosed in a silken cocoon), and adult (imago). Generally, the developmental time for the different stages is influenced by the nutritional quality of the host plant’s leaves during larval feeding as well as the climatic conditions. The Epiphora bauhiniae silk moth takes approximately 35 days to complete its cycle. Instar one lasts for six days, instar two for four days, instar three for five days, instar four for five days, instar five for four days and instar six lasts for three days. The eggs take seven days to hatch. Rearing options For protection against predators, use of net sleeves is recommended. There are two versions in use depending on the host plant.
Above and below: Ziziphus mauritiana (Tlomwo)
b) Ziziphus mauritiana This also is a wickedly armed scrambler, shrub or small, very thorny tree. It is often found in thickets, and is widespread at the coast and inland up to 1,400m. This species is fast growing and drought resistant, makes good fodder and an excellent hedge, with hard, heavy wood. It is used at the coast for beds and dhows. When ripe, the fruit pulp can be made into a thirstquenching drink and also into a potent spirit. It is distributed from the coast to Nyanza and is often riparian. The strong sharp thorns are in pairs, one straight to 2 cm, and the other
1. Net sleeve option for Z.mucronata Nicely trim a branch of Z. mucronata and tie a net sleeve measuring 1m by 1 m by 1m tightly on to the handle to ensure that worms will not escape along the branch. Release about 50 third instar worms at any point inside the net. The worms will find their way into the preferred leaves as they crawl around. Supervise after every three or four days to monitor the growth progress. Any dead worms must be removed and as soon as the leaves have been eaten exhaustively, transfer the net and the worms to a nearby branch. The worms are easy to handle and are not hairy or irritating on handling. 2. The cage method This is ideal for the thorny Z. mauritiana. Here, male and female cocoons are tied on to the tree in the ratio of one to two depending on the canopy of the tree. The cocoons are left on to the tree for the moths to emerge, mate and lay eggs. The moths will lay eggs randomly on the branches from where they will hatch and start feeding on the leaves. Close monitoring as with the net sleeves will be needed as the worms develop until spinning. Harvesting After instar six, the grown-up worms will spin
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The life cycle of a moth
Installing net sleeves around branches of Ziziphus tree to stimulate and control growth of larvae (worms).
Installing a complete cage around a Ziziphus tree.
a silvery cocoon into which they will pupate as they transform to moths. The cocoons are left on the tree at least a week then harvested by cutting them nicely at the point of attachment on the branch, being careful to avoid the thorns. The cocoon can be sold to CABESI market place for further processing. Material for this article has been compiled by Clement Ngâ€™oriareng (KFS), Prof Okeyo Owuor Moi University; Prof Raina Suresh (ICIPE); Dr Esther Kioko National Museums of Kenya and Rolf Gloor (CABESI Kapenguria).
How much land does it require to start silkworm farming? Remember this is a wild silk moth, not the domesticated mulberry silk worms, so we rely on the host plants that occur naturally in the wild. However, the amount of land will depend on what a person has and the host plants can be planted for purposes of establishing a woodlot for the same. At a spacing of five metres square in the dry of areas where water is a limiting factor, a hectare of land can accommodate up to 400 trees. Again, depending on the crown size, the number worms and cocoons that will be obtained from the tree, of course leaving the other factors constant, will vary. For initial wild silk farming, 1 hectare (that is 2.5 acres) that can support 400 plants, will do. Where does one get the initial eggs/larvae for the silkworms? A basic knowledge of wild silk moth phenology is required and this entails knowing the seasons and cycle of the wild silk mothâ€™s development. In addition, a grass thatched structure to act as grainage and rearing facility is required. Fine net sleeves for mechanical protection
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of the young silkworms from predators and parasites are required. However, the eggs and or larvae for this silk moth can be obtained with the help of the CABESI project in West Pokot or the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Nairobi. The details of the rearing process and investments, markets and post-harvest returns can be provided by the same groups i.e. CABESI and ICIPE. What is CABESI? CABESI stands for Camels Bees and Silk a self-help organisation in the North Rift. The organisation has initiated silkworm farming in the region. It is instrumental in identifying the tree species and suitable sites for silk farming and provides the technical expertise in silk farming. CABESI is located in Kapenguria.
The contact person is: Rolf Gloor, (Tel: 0733 884783) CABESI Self Help Project, P.O. Box 342, Kapenguria Email: email@example.com
The showroom of the cooperative in Wamunyu with a wide variety of crafts for sale. Enough to confuse any buyer.
The woodcarvers of Wamunyu They look back with nostalgia at a craft started almost 100 years ago, but now facing serious challenges By Jan Vandenabeele
amunyu Handicraft Cooperative Society Ltd, as the name indicates, is located in Wamunyu, a village in Machakos district, some 120km away from Nairobi, along the Kitui road. This village is at the heart of the woodcarving industry in Kenya, which started in the last century. The presence of woodcarvings in all curio shops in the country makes one think that woodcarving has always been part of Kenyan manufacturing (or, depending on the case, art). However, the reality is different. The history of woodcarving in Kenya starts with Mutisya Munge, a man from Wamunyu who served in the British army in Tanganyika (today Tanzania) during World War I. Munge was single-handedly responsible for the creation of a brand new industry in Kenya, that still provides jobs for tens of thousands of people. In Tanganyika, Munge encountered the Makonde, a people who straddle the Mozambique-Tanzania border, and who are
known for their woodcarvings. He learned about carving, and when he came back after the war (1918), he tried to introduce his newfound skills to his people, the Kamba, who originally thought this was an absurd activity, only good for idlers. Discouraged, Munge built himself a tree-house where he could continue to work, without disruption, and produce carvings that he sold to Europeans in Nairobi. One of his first clients was the DC of Machakos. Seeing that there was some money to be made, the villagers sought out Munge to teach them the skill. Soon, Munge could count on a following of trainees that later became master carvers. In the local market, demand for carvings was increasing among colonial administrators, Asian merchants and missionaries, and people started seeing woodcarving as a viable means of earning a living. Munge died in 1927, bequeathing his art to his children, relatives, fellow villagers and very many Kenyans. Mungeâ€™s wife did not take
up woodcarving. She was a basket weaver, and to this day, woodcarving has remained the preserve of men, at least among the Kamba. The Wamunyu Cooperative Society traces its history back to the early 1950s when carvers from Wamunyu, Nairobi and Mombasa organised themselves under the Akamba Handicrafts Society for better marketing of their products. Wamunyu Handicraft Cooperative Society Ltd started working in 1963 and registered as such in 1965. Initially, the Wamunyu carvers used trees from their neighbourhood, with a preference for muthea (Cordia sinensis) and acacias, but later switched to mpingo (Dalbergia melanoxylon), muhuhu (Brachylaena huillensis), olive (Olea europaea var. africana) and ebony (Combretum schumannii). All these species have a beautiful wood, dense, fine grained and good for carving. They occur in semiarid lands, but also thrive towards the higher grounds around Nairobi, the Chyulu hills, or in the moister coastal strip.
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A multitude of giraffes in different sizes in the workshop of the cooperative society.
Partly to keep close to the source of raw material, the carving industry spread to Mombasa, Kitui, Makueni and even as far as Nyeri. In an ironic twist of history, a sizeable amount of Wamunyu woodcarvings used to be sold in Tanzania, the country where the art originated. However, the industry used a lot of wood, consuming hundreds of tonnes of wood per week. By the 1990s, this had led to the virtual disappearance of those species, all relatively slow growers. The void was filled by imports from Tanzania, but sometimes the wood harvesters would dig up roots of trees previously felled. In the late 1990s, the government imposed a ban on the above tree species, encouraging carvers to use alternative species. However, the ban came too late as the said tree species had virtually disappeared. The alternative species replacing the real
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carving trees included mango (Mangifera indica), mainly old trees from the coast that were to be replaced with grafted varieties, neem (Azadirachta indica), also quite abundant at the coast, grevillea (Grevillea robusta) a well-known agro forestry species and jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) used for beautification along streets. Typically, these are all exotic species, introduced long time ago in East Africa, growing faster than the indigenous species. However, the wood is not the same and the quality of the carvings has suffered. In Wamunyu, the carvers also work with muuku (Terminalia brownii), which is yellow and relatively soft. They definitely cannot afford the beautiful hardwoods of the Congo forest. The cooperative society has its own little nursery, but tree planting would need to be on a more massive scale to have a real impact. This is a pity. It is claimed that Kenya has lost 75 per cent of its international market in woodcarvings due to dwindling supplies of raw material. Formerly, most of the people of Wamunyu made a living from woodcarvings, either directly or indirectly; not any more. Currently, the office-bearers of the cooperative society are Francis Mutiso (chairman), Kyalo Ndaya (vice chairman), Japheth Munyao (secretary) and Joseph Mutuku (manager). Membership of the society now stands at 2,005, but only some 30 to 50 of them are carving at the premises, the rest doing it part-time or further away, coming to the cooperative premises when it
suits them. Monthly income for a carver varies greatly, but a very rough estimate would place is at Ksh 3,000 to 4,000. A visit to the Wamunyu Handicraft Cooperative Society showroom reveals an impressive variety of carvings, of good quality. It is in fact surprising to see what can be achieved with very simple tools. The cooperative scouts for the trees, buys them and sells them to the members. The cooperative leaders look for orders, distribute the work to the members and also actively market the carvings. The cooperative retains 20 per cent of the price of each piece sold, to cover its costs. It is a competitive world and orders are hard to come by, and being based inland in a rural area like Wamunyu is an inconvenience compared to Nairobi or Mombasa. Carvings are also durable, so carvers need to source new customers all the time. To diversify, carvers nowadays make utility items like kitchen utensils. In other words, the industry is on a dip, though some tourist resorts continue to do a decent business selling curios, and specialised shops in Europe and America still place orders. The leaders of the Wamunyu cooperative society are exploring all possible ways and means to keep their business alive, and one good idea is to acquire a sales outlet at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. We wish them success. The writer is the Executive Director, Better Globe Forestry Ltd.
Working together Some existing partnerships between tree growers and wood industries and the challenges they face PART II By Joshua K. Cheboiwo1 and David Langat2
he forestry sector in Kenya is characterised by a shortage of wood and a rising demand for wood in the construction and other sectors. Forest cover in Kenya, estimated at 2.5 per cent of the total landmass, is relatively small compared to international standards. This scenario is made worse by the rapid degradation of public forests. The proposed Forest Policy 2007 outlines activities to be undertaken by the government in collaboration with various stakeholders in promoting the development of farm forestry. Recent studies have shown that farmers are responding positively to these changes and many are taking trees as an important land use activity and as an alternative investment venture in their agricultural landscape. The large round wood consumers in western Kenya have recently initiated a number of partnerships with tree growers in the region. This article aims at documenting existing partnerships and their experiences. The article is split into three. Part I - carried in Miti 5 - introduced the concept. Part II, in this issue of the magazine, gives some examples of partnerships, while the last part, in Miti issue 7, will deal with more examples and the lessons learnt.
Examples of partnerships Nyando Valley Development Trust Fund (NVDT)
NVDT is a local community based organisation (CBO) formed by Homalime Company with local farmers in Koru, Nyanza. Homalime Company is a large consumer of firewood in its lime and sugar processing activities. NVDT promotes tree planting by farmers, mostly in Nyando, Kericho and Nandi South districts to boost production and improve environmental conditions in these areas. Currently, the project covers Kericho (Chilchila and Kipkelion divisions) and Nandi South (Meteitei and Chemase divisions). Mode of operations
NVDTâ€™s central nursery produces over 100,000 seedlings per year that are sold to farmers at
Farmers during field trainning.
Ksh 5 per piece within two agro-ecological zones - the Rift Valley highlands and the Lake Basin lowlands. Farmers in the lowland zones are encouraged to plant E. camaldulensis, E. paniculata and C. equisetifolia while E. grandis, C. lusitanica and P. patul are recommended for the highlands. Through NVDT, Homalime assists groups and individuals to establish tree nurseries by providing quality seeds from KEFRI and tubes for one year to each nursery, which is expected to produce 50,000 seedlings per year. The project is run according to a sustainability plan that expects the beneficiaries to sell all the seedlings at Ksh 5 each, to generate Ksh 250,000. The group members can share seedlings worth Ksh 150,000 of the generated money but have to plough back Ksh 100,000 to the nursery activities to ensure sustainability. In the second and subsequent years, the supported nurseries are required to buy seeds from NVDT to ensure that they raise good quality seedlings. NVDT plans to recruit up to 16 groups and individuals in the next four years. It is collaborating with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) staff and other agencies in promoting tree planting activities within its operation area to complement its thin staff on the ground. Homalime Company Ltd leases land from absentee landowners to plant trees under two arrangements:
1. The company can plant and maintain woodlots up to two years and the owners have two options; either to pay Ksh 50,000 per hectare to own the established woodlot or to allow Homalime to harvest the first crop, recover its costs and revert the woodlot back to the owner. 2. Farmers can also lease out their land to NVDT to plant trees or contract NVDT to plant trees for them. To date, about 40 hectares of woodlots have been established through the programme. NVDT has long experience in integrating livestock with tree planting and thus encourages farmers to use wide spacing of 3mx3m and 3x2m to enable woodlot owners to graze their animals from the second to the forth year when grass can still grow under the woodlot canopy. In collaboration with KARI and KEFRI Maseno, NVDT has been training farmers in nursery management, tree establishment, woodlot management, harvesting and marketing of tree products. The efforts are geared at creating awareness on the potential of farm forestry regarding income generation as well as improvement of environmental conditions within the highly degraded Nyando Valley Basin. Homalime Ltd buys firewood from farmers and assists them to sell their surpluses to tea estates and other consumers. These efforts are to link tree growers with ready markets
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for their tree products and hence promote commercialisation of farm forestry activities. Problems and experiences
Homalime Ltd has experienced the following challenges: High costs of extension and support activities without any external support. The company has not realised benefits commensurate with the costs incurred in the promotion of farm forestry activities. Many farmers have high expectations that cannot be matched by Homalimeâ€™s limited resources. Many farmers view Homalime Ltd as a donor who must do all the planting and maintenance activities for them, an attitude that stops the farmers from taking up the ownership of supported farm forestry activities. A strategy coordinated by the government on farm forestry and environmental development in the country is lacking, specifically on growing of eucalyptus. Some stakeholders in the sector expect financial support to mobilise farmers to participate in its forestry projects, the absence of which gives rise to conflicts and hostile reception. Western Kenya Tree Planters Association (WETPA)
WETPA is among the many emerging, small, and poorly coordinated tree plantersâ€™ associations in western Kenya that have been formed in the last six years to serve the interests of tree growers in the region. WETPA covers Lugari, Bungoma, Busia and Trans Nzoia and has an office in Webuye town WETPA, whose formation was facilitated by Forest Action Network (FAN), aims to mobilise
farmers within the Pan African Paper Mill (PPM) supply zone to grow commercial trees to sell to PPM, to negotiate for fair prices and offer other support for its members. In 2006, WETPAâ€™s members had planted 20 hectares of trees and negotiated an increase of the factory gate price from Ksh 1,200 to 1,500 per tonne of firewood. Many members of WETPA we interviewed felt that the current prices offered by PPM make it financially unviable to grow trees for firewood. Nobody was aware of the price that makes a firewood enterprise feasible and most had no access to cost-benefit information of tree-based enterprises, thus making investment decisions difficult. Pan Paper Mills Western Kenya Out-grower Scheme
Pan African Paper Mills (PPM) is the largest paper making industry in Kenya and has been relying on public forests for its round wood supply since its establishment in 1975. However, the supplies from public forests have been declining and PPM in 2004 took a decision to extend its supply catchment to farmers within a radius 150 kilometres from the factory. PPM reports that by 2006 it had demarcated 11 districts into its potential supply zones and appointed four extension/ liaison officers to recruit commercial tree growers. To motivate tree growers, PPM increased its factory gate prices from Ksh 750 to 1,500 per tonne for firewood and Ksh 1,600 per tonne for pulpwood. It has developed specifications and regulations for the supply of firewood and pulpwood with which farmers comply. It had registered 5,000 farmers as potential suppliers of round wood and sells to them high quality seedlings at Ksh 3 per piece. In 2005/2006, the company produced 2.8 million seedlings for both indigenous and exotic species that was split between KFS and farmers. The bulk of the seedlings are E. grandis, but also include cypress, pine and various indigenous species. In 2005, farmers were given 192,715 seedlings. The number increased to 4,444,171
in 2006 with higher targets in the future. Between January and August 2006, farmers supplied 8,959.13 tonnes of pulpwood and 7,671.28 tonnes of firewood. The payout sum was Ksh 14,334,608 and Ksh 11,506,920 respectively. Experiences
The supply from farms is irregular because farmers are forced to synchronise harvesting with off-farming seasons to reduce possibility of crop damage. Transport costs have discouraged farmers from delivering round wood to the factory for it costs up to Ksh 10,000 to hire a 7-tonne lorry to ferry firewood to the mill. This can still be higher with increased distances and poor roads. Thus, the traders dominate the delivery business, taking up margins that could have accrued to farmers. However, the traders complained of incurring losses due to high prices of trees from farms; losses made worse by lack of a common unit of measure. PPM devised a solution to the two issues, advising both traders and farmers to agree on prices based on conventional mill tonnage on delivery to the factory. An agreement is drawn between the traders and farmers on the agreed prices per tonne and PPM splits the cheques as per the agreement when paying for the deliveries. PPM has worked closely with KFS on recruitment of tree growers and supply of seedlings to farmers. PPM also expects KFS to inform farmers on the potential markets, processing of harvesting and movement permits for tree products. It is keen to get supplies of high quality seeds from KEFRI and other agencies. PPM was also working with KEFRI to provide guidelines on economic analysis of tree growing enterprises to aid farmers in their investment decisions. Reliance on one industry like PPM has its shortcomings, which came to the fore when the company ceased operations in March 2009, thus dashing the hopes of hundreds of investors in tree farming in western Kenya. However, the government has revived the plant, under the name Webuye Paper Mills and it remains to be seen how it will fare. 1 Principal Research Officer, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Londiani Regional Research Centre Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
2 Senior Research Officer, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Londiani Regional Research Centre Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Farmers are working with the wood industry for mutual gain.
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A large stack of wood (Acacia xanthophloea) ready for kilning, in Narok district. Narok currently supplies a large section of the Nairobi market, unfortunately not in a sustainable way, but surely as a profitable business. The future: charcoal kilns with high efficiency (30-35% conversion rate wood to charcoal), Kakuzi Ltd close to Thika.
Charcoal: Not old-fashioned and outdated With proper planning, the sector can shake off a negative image and be part of a sustainable future
By Fridah Mugo
hile electricity and gas may be considered the most desired cooking fuels, most African households cannot afford both the energy resource and the appliances required to use these forms of energy. Many, therefore, turn to kerosene or charcoal. Since most countries in the region import kerosene, it is not always available or it is too costly for some households. This leaves charcoal as the most readily available fuel in the urban areas of developing countries. In addition, charcoal has unique cooking properties that make people prefer it even when other fuels are available. This has been demonstrated in Sudan, where the price of cooking gas (LPG) fell to a third that of charcoal but many homes still preferred charcoal. Many hotels and restaurants also prefer charcoal for roasting meat. In energy terms, charcoal consumption in many African countries is higher than gross electricity consumption. As concerns quality and energy value, charcoal compares well with other sources of energy. Urban women interviewed during household energy surveys in Ethiopia, Chad, Madagascar, Mali, Niger and Senegal did not like to cook with wood because they found it difficult to kindle, awkward, dangerous for children, smoky and messy. Charcoal is perceived to
be free of these negative effects, and it is priced more competitively than LPG and kerosene, which are still too expensive for many people. A study in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania, for example, clearly showed charcoal used in energy-efficient stoves to be the cheapest fuel per unit of energy. This is confirmed by another study in Kenya, which estimated annual household consumption to be US$ 150, 397 and 740 respectively for charcoal, LPG and electricity.
Global increase in use of charcoal Contrary to popular belief, charcoal production and use is increasing worldwide rather than decreasing (Rosillo-Calle et al., 1996)1. Brazil is the world’s largest producer and user of industrial charcoal, consuming more than 7.3 million tonnes (1992 level) a year. Various studies – for example one done by W Emrich in 1985 – have shown that because of the synergistic effect of improved charcoal technology and advanced silvicultural practices, the use of charcoal and its by-products will continue to increase. Johansson et al. (1993) has estimated that by the middle of this century, renewable 1
sources of energy could account for 60 per cent of the world’s electricity and 66 per cent of the market for fuels used directly, of which biomass makes up 38 per cent. A 1994/5 study by Shell International Petroleum also predicts a significant role for modernised biomass energy in this century. This calls for adequate investment in developing renewable sources of energy, including charcoal. As living standards rise and urban populations increase, households and cottage industries in many developing countries, especially in Africa, are turning to charcoal for cooking, increasing its demand even further. Most striking is the increasing use of charcoal in average-sized towns, and sometimes even in rural areas. For example, a recent survey of households in towns in the northern region of Mahajanga, Madagascar, showed that charcoal was the main domestic fuel (CIRAD, 1999)2. The figures revealed increasing charcoal use when compared with a 1992 survey for the World Bank by the Household Energy Unit of the Ministry of Energy and Mines. Reliable information and estimates of charcoal production, trade and use or its impact on forest and woodland cover in 2
1 Rosillo-Calle. M.A.A. de Rezende, P. Furtado and D.O. Hall (1996). The charcoal dilemma: Finding a sustainable solution for Brazilian Industry. ITDG Publishing.
2. CIRAD. 1999. Programme pilot inte’ge’rd’ approvisionment durable bois e’nergie de la re’gion de Mahajanga. Project report, Mahajanga Integrated Pilot Program
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most African countries are not available. However, recent case studies, for example, in Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar and Kenya, show increasing use. This is due to a combination of many factors that include increasing population, rapid urbanisation and a shift to charcoal use by urban dwellers. High profits from charcoal have also contributed to the shift, spawning new businesses far away from the markets and leading to exploitation of distant forests and woodlands. These are often areas where there is less control and which lack institutional support by the public authorities responsible, such as forest and energy departments, according to a paper presented by M A Trossero, (2003) during a workshop on charcoal policy and legislation in East and southern Africa held at the World Agroforestry Centre.
Increasing use of charcoal in the region Generally, the demand for charcoal is on the increase, especially in urban areas of developing countries due to lower transport and handling costs compared to firewood. While information on charcoal use in the region is sparse, available estimates indicate that the fuel provides energy for a majority of urban households. In Kenya, according to a Ministry of Energy 2002 report, it provides for 82 per cent of urban households and 34 per cent (PPIM).
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of those in the rural areas. The situation is similar in Tanzania, where urban households use 80 per cent of the charcoal produced. In Ethiopia, a wood energy survey of 1996/97 indicates that 230,000 tonnes of charcoal are used every year. Of this, 70 per cent is used in towns, supplying 97 per cent of household energy needs. In Uganda, according to a 2002 National Biomass Study, biomass constitutes 90 per cent of the total energy consumption. Like in the other countries in the region, charcoal is mainly used in urban areas and its use, estimated to increase at 6 per cent a year, is proportional to the rate of urbanisation. In Zambia, wood fuel supplies 68 per cent of national energy requirements. A total of 0.7 million tonnes of charcoal is consumed annually and 85 per cent of urban households are reported to use it. Charcoal use is reported to have increased by 4 per cent between 1990 and 2000.
Environmental effects of using charcoal Charcoal production is a big threat to bio-diversity because it targets specific preferred species found in natural forests and woodlands, most of which are poorly managed. The result is unsustainable
harvesting. For instance, acacias of all species are targeted in Kenya, and selected for felling, while uncontrolled browsing by freerunning goats hampers natural regeneration. In drier areas, where the regenerative capacity is lower, unplanned and unmanaged charcoal production accelerates the processes that lead to desertification. In addition, in most countries of the region, regulation of charcoal production is uncoordinated and there is little investment to make business more efficient and costeffective. This makes charcoal extraction unsustainable and contributes to its negative image. The charcoal industry has been viewed negatively because it is associated, rightly, with deforestation and land degradation, slow and unsustainable growth of trees, wasteful use of wood, environmental pollution and poor working conditions of those involved in production. With proper planning and management of the sector, all the negative effects can be corrected. The writer is a lecturer - Environmental Planning and Management, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Nairobi. Email: email@example.com
A well-made dining set made at the Erimu Co Ltd workshop.
The trees will sprout Despite a shortage of timber, Ugandan wood and furniture dealer sees a bright future in the industry Roland Nkwitsana, Marketing Manager of Erimu Co Ltd, in the showroom.
By Joshua Ondyer
or a long time in Uganda, people harvested timber with abandon and without any thought to reforestation. The result? A timber shortage that has driven prices of timber high, in turn driving up the cost of doing business in the timber industry. In the end, the customer has to bear this cost. However, according to Roland Nkwitsana, Marketing Manager, Erimu Co Ltd, all is not gloom. For one, the National Forestry Authority (NFA) has embarked on a massive tree-planting programme throughout the
country. Secondly, the European Unionfunded Sawlog Production Grant Scheme (SPGS) is encouraging people to plant trees by extending grants to them. â€œAs a result, very many people have now turned to tree growing, not only out of a love for trees, but also due to the financial returns trees bring,â€? says Mr Nkwitsana. Erimu too, is not just sitting by and watching events. In 2007, the company planted 35,000 seedlings of pine trees in the Nakasongala area. Collectively therefore, these actions are pushing up the tree ground cover. In the next 10 to 20 years, these interventions
will reduce the timber shortages being experienced in Uganda. This will be good news for Erimu, a wood processing industry that runs timber yards and makes furniture. Erimu has been in business for over 15 years and has over 100 employees. The company has two yards; one at Ntinda trading centre and the other at Kansanga in Kampala. It also has a factory at Nabbingo where it makes furniture and has showrooms on Jinja Road, Kansanga and Ntinda in the heart of Kampala, where it sells its finished products. Erimuâ€™s two timber yards have an annual timber consumption
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of approximately 6000m3, representing close to 20 lorries per month. The company deals in mahogany (Khaya senegalensis), nkalati (Aningeria altissima), teak (Tectona grandis), kirundu (Antiaris toxicaria), nkuzanyana (Blighia unijugata), mvule (Milicia excelsa) and pine (Pinus caribaea, Pinus ocarpa). Erimu buys the timber from dealers who bring in mahogany from the Congo and teak from the Sudan and the Mt Elgon areas. “We get pine from the nearby forests through NFA concessions that we get from time to time,” says Mr Nkwitsana. Erimu sells most of the timber to the construction and furniture industries – both individual users as well as big construction firms. The company uses the rest of the wood to make furniture at the Namagoma - Nabbingo Masaka Road factory, about 12 kilometres from Kampala, along the Kampala - Masaka highway. The company makes a wide variety of timber products such as doorframes, shutters, wardrobes, beds, dining sets, floor parquets and kitchen units, among others. Erimu uses planing, cutting, polishing, joining, moulding and carving machines at its timber yards. Clients are diverse, like individuals investing in their homes, schools, government departments, hotels and the sprouting apartment construction sector in the country. Like any other business, Erimu faces competition from other timber yards and furniture makers. The shortage of timber in the country leads to stiff competition between timber yards for the available timber. “This means that the yard that offers the best prices gets the best timber,” says Mr Nkwitsana. In the process, timber yards pass this cost on to consumers. Mr Nkwitsana however maintains that Erimu strives to keep the prices of its products affordable. The business is financed through savings from profits made in previous years as well as credit facilities from banks. How does Mr Nkwitsana see the future of the timber industry in Uganda? “Well, I think the future is bright,” he says. The treeplanting initiatives spearheaded by NFA and SPGS will reduce the timber shortage in the next decade or so. Therefore, in future, according to Mr Nkwitsana, there will be trees to harvest - certainly good news for the
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Erimu workers taking a break. The yard is well stocked, and timber is nicely stacked for air-drying.
Another example of Erimu showmanship: a well-crafted wall unit on display in the showroom.
timber industry. Erimu gives back to the community in which it operates. The company gives free tree seedlings to the villages neighbouring the Nakasongala area where the company has tree plantations. As Uganda is currently experiencing an acute blood shortage, Erimu has collaborated with the blood bank of Uganda
and staff members donate blood every two months. The company also sponsors sporting events, paints zebra crossings and donates baby cots to children’s homes, among other activities. The writer is the Miti Editorial Coordinator, Uganda.
Acacia for charcoal Community groups show the way
Half-orange brick kilns for charcol production. (Madiany Division, Bondo District 2008)
By Fridah Mugo
AFDIP is a registered community forest association (CFA) in Madiany Division, Rarieda District of Nyanza Province. It is made up of four community based organisations (CBOs), namely: RAID (Rachar Agroforestry Initiative for Development) -134 members; KOBRA (Kobong-Rachar Women Group) – 30 members; Masanga Women Group (25 members) and Chamluchi Women Group (30 members). RAFDIP started as a youth organisation called Youth to Youth Action Group (YYAG) with the aim of creating employment for rural youth through afforestation. The members sensitised and mobilised farmers interested in planting trees for charcoal on a commercial basis. Thuiya Enterprises Ltd1 contracted and paid YYAG to raise acacia seedlings at Ksh 5 per seedling. Farmers were given 500 – 2,000 seedlings on loan at no interest, to plant as woodlots for charcoal, with the agreement that the money for the seedlings would be recovered at the end of four years. Farmers were also given 16kg/ha of beans or groundnut seeds to intercrop with the trees, for every 500 seedlings planted, 1 P. O. Box 5200-00100 Nairobi, tel 020-710203, 0733-757549
for income in year one and two. They are expected to repay equal amounts of seeds, at harvesting. YYAG members were trained on tree nursery establishment and management while all the farmers were trained on how to plant and manage the trees and the women trained on how to make and use maendeleo stoves and fireless cookers. Representatives of the sponsors visit the farmers once or twice a year, take photographs of their trees and record their performance. Over time, the community effort has evolved to its current status where the older groups have recruited new groups to join in the afforestation effort. The group members have been working together for over 10 years. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and are able to tap into the strengths as a group. RAID is chaired by a no-nonsense man called Samuel Ayienda who believes in trees. For one to be an active member of RAID, one must have trees and take care of them. Mr Ayienda understands no other language other than trees. Chamluchi Women Group has for a long time been involved in trading in grains like maize and beans. Diversifying to trees was just an additional project to what they were already doing. KOBRA and Masanga groups
The message spreads. Interested farmers on a study visit to learn how to grow acacias and make charcoal sustainably (Madiany division, a two-year-old woodlot of Acacia xanthophloea)
have a stable banking initiative, which is doing very well. So far, they have over Ksh 100,000 and the amount increases every week. This keeps the group together. Each member contributes Ksh 50 per week and members are free to take loans as long as they qualify. In addition to Thuiya Enterprises Ltd, a company that specialises in tree farming and marketing of agricultural and wood products, the acacia tree-planting project is sponsored by the Finnish Embassy and
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the Christian Agricultural and Related Professionals Association (CARPA). The project has contributed immensely to gluing the group members together since they get money yearly for raising tree seedlings. Each group proposes a target of the tree seedlings they are able to raise in any given year. The upper limit is the number of farmers they are able to convince to grow trees, their ability to provide extension services to these farmers and the financial resources available from development partners. Two acacia species A. xanthophloea and A. polyacantha, both of them fast growing and indigenous to the area, have been the key species promoted. Last year, two more, A. gerrardi and A. seyal, have been added. Acacias are leguminous species, able to fix nitrogen and improve soil fertility. While increasing forest cover, the trees contribute to the carbon sink capacity of the area. The groups started planting the trees in 2002. The farmers were advised to plant in woodlots spaced 2m x 2m but some ignored the advice. Some planted 1m x 1m, others Carbonisation process in progress. The door has been sealed and the aeration openings will also be gradually closed to stop further supply of oxygen to the wood, to properly carbonise it. (Oxygen makes the wood burn).
2m x 2m, still others planted 4m x 8m. A few farmers planted along the farm boundary at a spacing of 2m within row spacing. For farmers to participate in the project, they had to plant a minimum of 500 trees, estimated to be half an acre. The farmersâ€™ responsibility includes ploughing the land, digging holes for tree planting, weeding the trees, protecting trees from livestock and thieves, harvesting, converting to charcoal and taking to the market or selling at the farm to any vendor interested in buying charcoal. Harvesting is done using power saws and manual tools.
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Where optimal spacing, i.e. appropriate tree population is observed and efficient kilns used for charcoal burning, the expected yield should be 240 bags (40 kgs) per acre or 600 bags per ha, which amounts to 24T/ ha. Considering the current farm gate price of Ksh 600, this works out to approximately Ksh 144,000/acre or Ksh 360,000/ha. The production cost varies but the estimate is Ksh 20,000 per acre for the entire six years. The yield of the cover crop (beans, groundnuts) after three months is approximately three bags of shelled groundnuts/beans valued at Ksh 4,000 each providing an additional Ksh 12,000 per acre or Ksh 30,000 per ha. This contributes to household food and income security. Intercropping with the grain legume can only be undertaken in year one and year two as by the third year, the tree canopy has closed. In addition to trees and grain legumes, every farmer is given a beehive valued at Ksh 4,500 for every 500 acacia trees. Harvesting of honey starts after about three months. The cost of the beehive is recovered from the sale of honey at every harvest. The highest yield reported is 15 kg of honey from one hive valued at Ksh 300 per kg, which works out to Ksh 4,500 from the hive.
Profitability of tree growing for charcoal has not been properly calculated but the Kenya Forest Service is conducting a cost benefit analysis to establish the profits. Initially, the plan was to harvest wood at four years. After three years of project implementation, the quality of the wood for charcoal was assessed by Moi University Forest Department and it emerged that although the trees were large in size (7.5- 12 cm diameter at breast height), the wood was immature. A six-year cycle was recommended (Senelwa and Okikero, 2006). The trees reached the six-year maturity in 2008 and have been processed using the half orange kiln, whose efficiency is estimated to be 30 per cent. The community owns six charcoal processing kilns, accessible to all members, it has three nursery sites (production capacity two million seedlings) and has bought land for offices. Farmers may sell the wood to anyone, but for charcoal, wood harvesting has to be certified by a Forest Service Officer. In most cases, the charcoal produced is bought from the kiln site, meaning that the farmers do not incur any cost of transportation to the market although they transport wood from the farm to the kiln and this eats into their profits by about 30 per cent. Meanwhile, after seeing the final product and believing that it works, more farmers are now interested in planting trees for charcoal. For example, for 2009, the request was for one million acacia seedlings, compared to 100,000 raised and planted the previous year. The promoted acacias are indigenous in the area so other farmers have started managing their naturally growing trees for charcoal production. The collaborators are in the process of looking for more funds to up-scale the afforestation project. This now stands at 200ha, distributed in the land of the participating farmers, and is growing steadily. As a business enterprise, sustainability is assured provided the market exists, and access to the market is guaranteed. Due to corruption and harassment, especially during transport (police, County Council officers), the initiative still faces problems. However, the enforcement of the new Forest (Charcoal) Regulations, 2009 will provide an enabling environment for the charcoal business. The writer is a lecturer - Environmental Planning and Management, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Nairobi.
How much is your plantation worth?
A three-and-a-half-year-old plantation of neem (Azadirachta indica) in Mwingi drylands. It would be interesting to know its value.
Factors that determine the value of your tree crop By Paul Jacovelli
s I toiled over this article, it became clear to me how important the subject of plantation valuation is. Indeed, it encompasses many of the issues we keep stressing with commercial planters in Uganda, such as the need to keep records (costs, ages, seed source, etc) the importance of maximising yields and quality through good silviculture and why it is important to measure and monitor yields. It also highlights other factors such as a plantation’s proximity to market and its accessibility. Forestry valuations are needed for a variety of reasons – for example, for sale or purchase, for compensation purposes, for insurance and for accountancy and management (including taxation) reasons. In any commercial venture, one would
want to know the value of one’s assets. In a plantation forestry business, this means being able to estimate the current growing stock and being able to predict with reasonable accuracy, its value at some future date. Although forest valuation is not a simple subject, a basic understanding of the concept is vital for all those investing in commercial tree plantations. The main issues are finding the market value of the land and also the value of the crop – either in terms of its standing volume (for mature plantations) or the discounted value of their future net revenues (for young plantations). The prevailing market value of plantations is related to not just standing volume or growth rates but to the plantation’s accessibility, its proximity to market, species, its size and its management
history. Once an inventory has established an opening “book value” of the crop and its yield class, this can be updated annually by: adding the expected timber increment to its capital value each year; adding costs (less grants) of establishing new plantations and, deducting the value of clear-felled stands.
Types of forest valuation A young plantation has a market value reflecting its expected future production. However, a plantation does not have the same value to everyone and will depend on the circumstances (and objectives) of the buyer/seller. Valuations are largely based on key principles of historic costs and expected future revenues (for young plantations) or present market value. The choice of method
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A three-year-old Jatropha plantation in Mwingi district on fertile soil.
A young stand of Alnus acuminata in Western Kenya. This species has good quality wood, and the potential to improve soils through nitrogen fixation.
of valuation depends on the objectives of the buyer and seller.
Historic costs A plantation owner has either established the crop himself or has paid cash for it. They would not wish to sell the wood for less than this, after adding the cost of any improvements made and taking inflation into account. Assuming the forest is an investment, the owner may add compound interest on the costs incurred, deducting any revenue accruing since purchase or establishment. These historic costs however, are irrelevant when it comes to a sale but are important as a record to indicate future cash flows.
Expectation value Expectation value applies to future income and expenditure and is commonly in the form of a discounted predicted cash flow from existing or successor crops. An appropriate discount rate has to be agreed as well as making assumptions on future standing price (known as â€œstumpageâ€?).
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The periodic costs of protection and maintenance must be factored onto the cash flow. Management tables are usually available for the main plantation tree species. These predict the expected volume yield from thinnings and final crop. Inventory information is needed for each stand to determine the yield class. The expectation value should be calculated separately for stands of different species, age and productivity (yield class) and then combined.
buyer is prepared to offer. As often with sales, the agreed price will depend on the relative bargaining strengths and circumstances of the seller and buyer. If, for instance, there is only one buyer and the seller needs the money desperately, the price is likely to be low. If there are many potential buyers, the price is likely to be high.
Infrastructure Present market value Market prices for tree plantations can be difficult to determine, especially where there is very little history of similar transactions taking place. Sellers usually think about their historic costs while the buyers are only concerned with the future cash flow predictions. Important factors to consider are species, yield class, location, area, management history (e.g. well maintained, pruned and thinned). The market price lies somewhere between the lowest price the seller will accept and the highest price any potential
The value of infrastructure (access, internal roads, bridges, buildings, etc) impacts significantly on future profitability too. If suitable infrastructure does not exist, the cost of providing it at some future date (discounted) must be debited against the expectation value. The writer is the Chief Technical Adviser, Sawlog Production Grant Scheme (SPGS) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org This article first appeared in the Sawlog Production Grant Scheme magazine No 11 September â€“ October 2006. It is reproduced by the kind permission of SPGS, the publishers.
The king of palm wood The beautiful doum offers opportunities for commercial exploitation By Jan Vandenabeele
he doum palm (Hyphaene compressa) is an unusual palm tree in the sense that it branches, which is rare for palm trees. Each branch is crowned with large, fan-shaped leaves. In Kenya, the tree grows abundantly in Lamu, and is also common in Turkana, Tharaka and other arid and semiarid areas. It likes hot dry areas (up to 1400 masl), with a high groundwater table, like alongside rivers. The doum palm can grow to 10 â€“ 20 metres and since it is a slow grower, big trees could be as old as 100 years. The palm is dioecious, meaning there are female and male trees. In Lamu District, there seems to be a direct relationship between the distribution and regeneration of the tree and the presence of elephants. Fruits germinate readily when they have passed through the digestive tract of elephants. As the species loves light, it occurs in open patches in forests, but requires intervention from elephants to open these patches. Otherwise no germination will occur. The tree is quite fire resistant, but repeated bush fires can kill small trees and stop regeneration. The fruits are orangebrown, 6-12cm long by 4-9cm wide and are found on the trees all year round since the trees take about two years from pollination to fruit maturity. The tree produces numerous fruits - up to several thousands. Hence, doum palm can be a prolific seeder. Baboons and monkeys love the fruit, but it is also fit for human consumption. After germination, the seedling immediately grows a strong taproot, 60-100 cm deep, where it develops some kind of bulb, a fist thick. This provides re-growth in case the part above the ground is damaged. Another mechanism for reproduction is growing suckers. This, together with a strongly developed root system, explains why farmers in Lamu consider doum palm difficult to destroy. Their attitude towards doum palm is very different from the Turkana people, who will try to protect and conserve the tree. This reflects the ecological systems in which both live; relative abundance at the coast, and hardships in Turkana where every
A mature doum palm with its typical ramification, on the right, while the clump of leaves on the left side is re-growth from a damaged young doum palm. This is a picture from Lamu district, where doum palm is prolific.
A doum palm felled to make room for crop production. The wood is wasted, because the local residents are not aware of the technology to transform it into timber (sawing and drying) as well as the market.
resource has to be used for survival. Doum palm is remarkable for its multiple uses: leaves for thatching and weaving; fruits for eating; sap for juice and palm wine; wood for poles, construction and timber. Harvesting of leaves can start on trees aged about 30 years and these can be pruned every month. The doum palm thatch is called marara, as opposed to makuti, which is from coconut tree leaves. To roof one house requires the leaves of three trees. However, it seems Lamu residents prefer
galvanised iron sheets for roofing. Weavers create a wide variety of products from doum palm leaves. These include mats, baskets, fans, brooms, filters for juice, and others. Prices for mats range between Ksh 150 and 400 depending on size and usage. Both men and women do the cutting, drying and preparing of the leaves. The Pokomo claim that good wine can only be made from old trees, and that the taste gets stronger the older the tree. If carefully done, harvesting of the sap can be repeated from the same tree after two years. If not, the tree dies. The secret to careful harvesting lies in preserving the basis of the leaf buds, not incising too deep. Harvesting is done in the afternoon. One crown can produce 1 litre of palm wine per day; hence, a tree can produce 15 - 20 litres per day. This is normally sold locally at Ksh 40 per litre and (though illegal) at Ksh 100 â€“ 150 per litre in places like Malindi. The alcohol content is low (3.6 volume %), but the palm wine contains several vitamins and other nutrients. Currently, however, almost all trees tapped for wine in Lamu are dying due to poor harvesting methods. One serious drawback to the commercial
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Exploitation of doum palm for wine. Each branch has been clipped of its leaves, incisions have been made in the growing tips for tapping wine, and bottles attached to capture the sap flow. Ultimately this will kill the tree. Note the poles used to move around the crown. This won’t work if you have tasted too much wine.
Fruits of the doum palm. They are nutritious and healthy. One fruit has been nibbled by a monkey.
exploitation of the wine is that it spoils after just 24 hours. This limits marketing possibilities, but could be remedied with some additives or treatment, advice that a professional beverage specialist could provide. Farmers in Lamu are sure there is a market for the wine. According to them, even tourists in the Malindi beach resorts like the wine. It is a tasty product, and could hold its own in a niche market. It is also possible to produce nonalcoholic palm juice from young trees. Children like the juice, as has been demonstrated in Kitui. The tree starts fruiting from 30 years onwards and from 40 - 50 years can be harvested every six months. The fruit sells at Ksh 2 per fruit locally, and Ksh 10 in Mombasa. Unfortunately, there is no sure or stable market. It seems the fruit sells more during times of food scarcity. Marketability of the fruit is decidedly higher in Turkana district (Amwatta Mullah CJ)1. There, the edible part of the nut is either eaten directly, sliced off or pounded to make powder. This powder is then used as a flavouring agent in food. The nut is very hard to crack. The nutritional composition of the mesocarp (whitish inside of the fruit or “vegetable ivory”), in a fruit is as follows
1 Amwatta Mullah CJ, 2006, Socio Economic importance of doum palm (Hyphaene
2 Hoebeke P, 1989. The doum palm (Hyphaene compressa) as biological resource in
compressa) in Turkwel riverine ecosystem. Kenya Forestry Research Institute.
Turkana district, Kenya. MSc thesis, University of Trondheim, Norway.
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As can be seen, the mesocarp contains quite high levels of phosphorous, carbohydrates and energy. The presence of the nucleic acids thiamin, riboflavin and niacin indicates a health food. Farmers say it is good for expectant mothers. Poles are used for fencing, roofing (rafters), constructing latrines, but not sold on a commercial scale. The wood is hard and termite proof (although the Turkana claim this is only the wood from male trees). Lamu district farmers do not use doum as timber. Compared to coconut timber, which is well studied and described in literature, doum palm timber is harder and of higher quality. It
is called “the king of palm wood”. Another difference between doum and coconut lies in the presence of “highdensity” timber. In coconut timber, the outer side of the trunk of a mature tree is high density (>600kg/m3), quickly changing into low-density (200-400kg/m3) closer to its core. Doum palm timber, on the contrary, is completely high density from the trunk below its first fork, and the timber above the first fork is medium to low density. Felling and splitting of palm trees is strenuous work. It can be done either manually (pit sawyers) or by chainsaw. A manual team is able to process 1,000 ft per week of coconut palm, and a team with a power-saw can process up to 3000 ft per week. Prices of doum palm trees are not fixed and depend on what a buyer is able to negotiate with an owner. Coconut trees, on the other hand, cost between Ksh 500 and 600. Dried doum palm timber sells for Ksh 55 - 65 per foot (excluding transport). The Ukunda Youth Polytechnic Training Centre, on the south coast, has a specialised unit for kilning palm timber, and there is a market for it. Rampel Designs in Nairobi is one of the few consumers of doum palm timber (see Miti issue 2). Hence, commercial exploitation of doum palm certainly holds promise and could be increased or initiated for all major uses basketry, fruit processing, wine and timber production. However, it has to be done sustainably, to preserve the resource, which has a beauty of its own. The writer is the Executive Director, Better Globe Forestry Ltd
A solution for semi arid regions Tunisian tabias and jessours may hold the answer for dryland water use By Herman Verlodt
unisia and Yemen stand out as countries where ancient irrigation systems are still constructed and maintained. The Tunisian climate is characterised by one rainfall period (September to May) and one dry season. The period December-February is cold and trees have only one growing season. Compare this to Kenyaâ€™s two rainy seasons and two dry periods, without an extremely cold period. Meskats1 are the principal water catchment systems used in the Tunisian zone with annual rainfall between 200 and 350mm. This zone corresponds in Kenya to areas with 400-700mm annual rainfall. In the Tunisian zone with annual rainfall from 100 to 200mm, corresponding to regions in Kenya with 200 to 400mm rainfall, jessours and tabias are the preferred water catchment systems. Tabias and jessours are based on construction of dykes or embankments to retain runoff water.
Jessours Jessours are one of the most ancient modes of cultivation in the pre-desertic regions. Jessours are used in the cultivation of trees 1 A run-off system of catchments, size 500m2, specially designed for olive trees in Tunisia. It consists of squares surrounded by a 20cm high earth bund with a spillover towards lower units. The meskat is the catchment area; the down slope cropping area where the water is collected is called mankaa.
Detail of tabia in Tunisia with olive trees (Olea europaea), which is the same species as the Kenyan olive tree (Olea europaea subsp africana). A tractor has mulched the soil to limit evapotranspiration.
(olive trees, almonds, figs and date palms), intercropped seasonally with cereals and vegetables. A schematic view of a jessour is presented in figure 1. As seen from this figure, the thalweg is fitted with dykes, which are a mixture of earth dams and stone walls. The dyke allows retention of runoff water and carried solids. Sedimentation of the solids behind the dykes provides for deposit of new soil layers after each important rainfall and contributes to levelling of the slope of the thalweg. The surface formed by
the sedimentation is called the jessour and is used for cropping. Small jessours can be restricted to one or a few trees. The dykes have diversions (disgorgements) situated laterally or centrally, and the top of the diversion is on average 50cm lower than the dyke. Generally, the thalweg is completely fitted with jessours, and the lower jessour benefits from the overflow of the jessour above. The impluvium of these small, cultivated valleys (jessours) consists of the lateral slopes and the elevations above the jessour. Generally,
Miti April-June 2010
the K factor (relation between the impluvium area and the cultivated area) is about 5-6, which is providing for enough water for growing trees and some intercropping with annual crops. During heavy rainfall, the skeletal soils with meagre vegetation and the proximity of the jessours provide for high quantity and high-speed runoff. At the beginning, dykes are about 2 - 2.25m high. After several rainfalls, the sedimentation builds up and the dyke has to be increased. It is not unusual for dykes to reach heights of some 5 - 6m. The system has to be maintained regularly because storms can destroy dykes and diversions. To avoid destruction, dykes should not be higher than 2m and the diversion (spillway) should be about 80cm lower.
Tabias Tabias retain water on flat land with deep soil. Tabias are composed of a long head embankment, which normally follows contour lines, with a lateral embankment positioned on each side at right angles to the principal one. The water retention basins are thus surrounded on three sides and open on the fourth side for infiltration of water. The cropped surface is in general 30m wide and 50 - 150m long, depending on the site. Generally, fruit trees are planted in three rows at distances of 10x10m. The dykes are 1 - 1.5m high and are constructed of material obtained while levelling the parcel of land. There are two types of spillways: the central one and the lateral ones. In general, the central spillway should allow at least an accumulation of 30cm of water. The overflow can sustain a second tabia, just below the first one. The central spillway is made of stones. The water of the impluvium is directed to the tabia by means of a diversion dyke. To protect the tabias, some reinforcement with stones is made at the edges of lateral dykes and some lateral spillways are incorporated. Typical installations of tabias are presented in figure 2. This figure also shows the two different forms of water supply. Water supply of the tabias Direct supply The system is fed by an impluvium situated directly above the tabia. The supply can be realised by a small wave of water coming from the impluvium or by a concentrated runoff of a few depressions. The K-factor is generally between 6 and 20. If the impluvium is situated just above the tabia, even light rainfall can provide for some supply and the tabia is less exposed to damage by excessive water during heavy rainfall. Often, tabias are constructed consecutively in groups with overflow from the first tabia supplying the second one and so on.
Miti April-June 2010
During dry years, the second and subsequent tabias will receive less or no water for sufficient utilisation. For this reason, it is advisable to plant less sensitive crops in the second and subsequent tabias. The first tabia should be cropped with species that need the most water. Water supply from a seasonal river The tabia is situated close to a seasonal river and is connected to the river by simple and cheap diversion dykes in the river, providing water through superficial ditches connected to the tabia. The diversion dyke should be constructed in such a way that it is easily or partially destroyed by storms. The diversion dyke has to be reconstructed after each storm. In this type of tabia, there is no direct relation between a mostly huge impluvium and the surface of the tabia and the K-factor is mostly much higher than 20. Generally, only heavy rainfall gets the seasonal river running but a single water supply provides sufficient water for a complete growing season. For several superposed tabias, there is less difference in water supply than in the first case. Rainwater captured on the roads can be diverted to tabias. In such cases, the dimension should be adapted to the catchment. Comparison of tabias to other land use systems Populations in semi-arid and arid regions have to devise ingenious ways of survival. Tabias compare in these regions with the following exploitation methods: Dry cropping of cereals, which normally gives good results only once every five years Pastoralism, which needs complementary food for livestock Irrigated vegetables that mostly give good financial results, but in many cases, there is an overexploitation of the water table and sustainability can be a problem. Table 2: Effect of different exploitation forms on several important decision factors Effect on
Dry cropping of cereals
Pastoralism with complementary nutrition
Vegetables under irrigation
Compensation of climatic risks
Low investment costs
Low functioning costs
Independence on government subvention
Proper species for cultivation on tabias in Tunisia Different fruit trees, vegetables, fodder crops and wood trees have been cultivated successfully on tabias. Fruit trees Fruit trees are planted after the first rains and specifically on the first tabia because the water supply is more secure. Planting is done during the second year after eventual correction of levelling as per observations of the first year. During the first year, some cereal crops or other annual crops are grown. Table 3: Fruit species and their yields under Tunisian conditions Fruit species Olive trees Almonds Pistachio Fig Grape Apricots peach Pomegranate
Production per tree 50-200 kg 5-40 kg 5-15 kg 10-60 kg 3-20 kg 10-60 kg 10-80 kg 5-30 kg
For Kenyan conditions, maize could be the appropriate species for intercropping with pawpaw and young mango trees on tabias. Fodder crops and trees Although not much used yet, some annual fodder crops such as Medicago sp (clover), Trigonella arabica and Avena sterilis (oats) can be grown by intercropping, with good results. Annual yields are between 3 to 6T/ha, depending on the species and the rainfall. Mostly, good natural reseeding occurs. Some perennial fodder species such as Medicago sativa and Oryzopsis miliacea, can also be planted. One hectare can easily yield enough feed for eight sheep. Lowenstar and Zohar (1989) report good results with some sylvopastoral species cultivated on tabias. Results are reported in the table 5. Table 5: Growth of some tree species under tabias and jessours Species
For Kenyan conditions, mango and pawpaw trees could be grown under the tabia system. Annual crops Intercropping annual crops is of interest, especially the combination of deep rooting trees (taking advantage of the water situated between 0.4 and 3m) with superficial rooting annual crops (taking advantage of the water up to 40cm deep). The intercropping should be restricted to a width of 5 - 6m only. Autumn rains are used to water species adapted to the cold season. Spring rains are more appropriate for crops needing more warmth.
Eucalyptus occidentalis Eucalyptus camaldulensis Acacia salicina Casuarina glauca
Average diameter in cm
Average height in m
Foliage biomass in T dry
Wood biomass in T dry
after 42 months
after 42 months
matter/ha after 35 months
matter/ ha after 35 months
5.5 6.9 3.8 4.3
Total biomass in T/ha
Other adapted species are Cassia stortii, Ceratonia siliqua, Prosopis chilensis, Leucaena leucocephala, Atriplex nummularia, Myoporum serratum and Eucalyptus occidentalis.
Table 4: Appropriate Annual species and their yields under Tunisian conditions Type
Yield in T/ha
Wheat Barley Onion Turnip Carrots Peas Sunflower Beans Squash Melon Watermelon Snake melon Asparagus Artichoke
4 5 40 15 35 4 2.5 10 10 12 10 15 2 10
Temperate or warm season
A tabia system in the south of Tunisia, with olive trees growing in the zone where run-off accumulates. Note the date palm in the background and some more clusters of fruits trees in other tabias. For the rest, there is an almost complete absence of more vegetation due to the dry environment.
Another view of tabias in the south of Tunisia. The writer is a former professor of the University of Tunis (Tunisia) and a researcher specialising in horticulture and irrigation techniques Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Another view of olive trees growing in a tabia.
Miti April-June 2010
Water from dry riverbeds Knowing where to dig for the precious commodity By Erik Nissen-Petersen
n arid and semi arid lands (ASAL), every child in the village knows that you can find water in a riverbed by scooping a waterhole in the sand. Women know where to dig for waterholes that provide water throughout the year – even during drought when all other water sources run dry. If you ask women where they learnt to dig water holes that supply water all year round, they say, “My mother showed me the place” or “The best waterholes are found where a mukuyu tree grows.” Since riverbeds are the most reliable and cheapest water source for millions of people living in the arid and semi-arid lands of Africa, it would be better if development agencies could give more attention to low-cost water projects incorporating handdug wells and sub-surface dams instead of the much more expensive and often malfunctioning weirs and sand dams. A hand-dug well, as the name suggests, is a well dug manually, where the only piece of machinery eventually used is a water pump to enable the workers to do their job in relatively dry conditions. It is a potentially dangerous undertaking, especially when the hole in the ground has to go deeper than five metres, and yes, it can go as deep as 20 metres or even more. A sub-surface dam is a structure constructed at the bottom of a sand riverbed, where it uses the underlying rocks as a firm foundation. It is still a dam in the sense that it dams the river water, in other words, it stops it from flowing downstream. However, this is not about free-flowing water that can be seen. It is a tiny continuous trickle of water inside and underneath the sand of the river, invisible to somebody looking at the superficially dry and sandy riverbed. Hence, the amount of water that can be trapped and consumed is limited, but it is still there, and it cannot flow away. Even better, it cannot evaporate as a layer of sand protects it. The dam or wall is made from clay, rubble stone masonry, or cement; and stops short of reaching the surface of the sand, which forms the riverbed. After construction, the sand carried by the water flowing in the
Miti April-June 2010
Women drawing water from a waterhole in a riverbed.
Well diggers sinking a well shaft.
stream when it rains will cover the dam, and it will become invisible. This is because it is under the surface, or sub-surface. It is cheap, efficient, easy to construct and cannot be washed away by flash floods. What is a weir? The Collins English
A hand-dug well being sunk in a riverbank.
Dictionary says it is “a low dam that is built across a river to raise the water level, divert the water, or control its flow.” The structure is designed to allow overflow of water, while holding a certain volume of water upstream. Its main function is to minimise fluctuation
the riverbeds. Catchments cannot supply the required coarse sand to be brought into the dams by floods. Spillways are not raised in the required 30 to 50 cm stages to trap coarse sand. Floodwater undermines the dam walls due to inadequate, or missing, spillover aprons.
Construction of a sub-surface dam, made out of clay, in a seasonal river in Kitui district.
A weir built of reinforced rubble stone masonry in the Maasai Mara.
in the water level due to changes in the flow rate of the river. A weir will reduce upstream water velocity. This will lead, in East African ASAL conditions, to siltation, which in time turns the weir into a low, inefficient sand dam. However, it might still be useful if combined with a hand-dug well. This brings us to sand dams. As pointed out in Miti issue 5, these are not built of sand, but meant to store sand, which in turn will store water. A sand dam is a wall that stops everything, water and sand, with a spillover where surplus water flowing over the sand can pass after good rainfall. Although subsurface dams and sand dams have been constructed in East Africa since 1905 and 1955 respectively, the curriculum for civil engineers does not include design criteria for subsurface dams, weirs and sand dams.
To reduce the number of failed sand dams, the following should be taken into account: Probe potential section of riverbeds and draw longitudinal profiles. Construct a hand-dug well at the deepest point in a riverbed. If a well can supply sufficient water to meet demand, there is no need to spend resources on construction of a sand dam. Where a sand dam is built before its well, it raises the water level in the riverbanks, thereby making it difficult to sink a well. Although a petrol-powered water pump can be used to pump out the water, it is an expensive and unnecessary activity. Weirs and sand dams are expensive to construct and maintain. Therefore, to avoid failure and loss of investment, experienced engineers should handle survey, design and construction works. Most technicians, artisans and farmers can survey, design and construct hand-dug wells and subsurface dams following the advice or the other information sources given in this article.
Finding the best site for a hand-dug well
Why are there so many failed sand dams? The failure of many sand dams is due to the following: Sand dams are built before their extraction point: a hand-dug well has to be constructed first. Sand dams are often designed and constructed without a proper survey of
The best location for sinking a hand dug well is, naturally, near the deepest part of a riverbed. Such places are found next to one or several of the trees listed below because these trees only grow where there is shallow groundwater throughout the dry seasons. Should none of these trees be found at a riverbed, the deepest point could be located by a gifted person dowsing for water. (Dowsing is looking for underground water using a divining rod. The person holding the
Tree species that indicate presence of water in ASAL Botanical name
Depth to water
Vangueria tomentosa Delonix elata Markhamia hildebrandtii Hyphaene compressa Borassus aethiopum Ficus vasta Ficus natalensis
Muiru / Kikomo Mwangi Muu / Chyoo Kikoko / Ilala Mvumo / Kyatha Mombu Muumo Mkuyu / Mukuyu Muratina / Muatini Mgunga / Mukami Mgunga / Munina
Not known Not known Not known Doum palm Palm tree Fig tree Climbing fig tree Fig tree Sausage tree Not known Not known
From 5 m to 10 m From 5 m to 10 m From 8 m to 15 m From 9 m to 15 m From 9 m to 15 m From 9 m to 15 m Form 9 m to 15 m From 9 m to 15 m From 9 m to 20 m From 9 m to 20 m From 9 m to 20 m
Ficus sycomorus Kigelia africana Newtonia hildebrandtii Acacia seyal
Miti April-June 2010
Subsurface dams increase the yield of water from hand-dug wells
Probing of a riverbed to determine its depth and assess its potential for construction of a sanddam, a subsurface dam or a well.
rod must indeed be gifted.) Should such a person not be available, the deepest point can be found by hammering a long smooth iron rod into the sand at intervals of say 20 metres in a process called probing. The iron rod will indicate the depth of the sand (and water). These measurements can be used for drawing a longitudinal profile of a riverbed, which shows the deepest point for sinking a hand-dug well. If required, the measurements can also be used to indicate the shallowest point downstream of the well where a subsurface dam, weir or sand dam could be constructed to increase the yield of water for the well. This longitudinal profile of a probed riverbed (see below) shows that the best place for sinking a hand-dug well is where the sand is deepest, which is under “Left bank”. Should more water be required, then a subsurface dam could be constructed on the dyke seen above the “P” in Profile.
Permit for sinking a hand-dug well Anybody wishing to sink a hand-dug well must obtain a permit from the local office of
the Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MoWI) and pay an annual fee for using the well, even if a well is to be sunk on private land and compounds.
Sinking a hand-dug well Hand dug wells should be sunk at the end of a long dry season when the water table is at its lowest, because: Expensive dewatering and extra labour can be avoided. Wells can be sunk to their maximum depth to ensure a stable water supply. Labour for excavation is cheap and available as there are no other farming activities. Skilled contractors are usually also available towards the end of dry seasons. The cheapest and safest method of sinking wells is to use curved concrete blocks reinforced onto foundation rings. It takes four skilled man-days and four bags of cement to construct 1 metre of a hand-dug well using this method, inclusive of a wellhead with a windlass but excluding a hand pump.
Should a well situated in a riverbank supply less water than required, its yield can be increased by constructing a subsurface dam on the highest of the underground dykes identified downstream of the well (see the longitudinal profile on this page). Subsurface dams raise the water table in the sand of a riverbed to 50 cm below the surface of the riverbed. This gives the following advantages: Their construction cost consists of farm labour only. Subsurface dams do not require any maintenance at all because they are situated below the surface of riverbeds where there are no problems with siltation or flood damage. Clayey soil for building subsurface dams is taken from nearby riverbanks. The ideal soil is identified by watching the infiltration rate of soil samples being saturated by water. The soil sample with the slowest infiltration rate is the most clayey.
Legal requirements Subsurface dams, weirs and sand dams are considered as barrages that block part of the underground flow in riverbeds. It is therefore illegal to construct these or similar structures on riverbeds without a permit from the local office of MoWI and the local National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). MoWI and NEMA may require a land agreement by the owners of the riverbanks and a formal application. MoWI and NEMA will also decide how much water the owner(s) will be allowed to extract over a given period.
Other information sources More information on survey of riverbeds, designs, construction costs, construction procedures and maintenance of hand dug wells, subsurface dams, weirs and sand dams, is available free of charge from: www.waterforaridland.com, where there are handbooks on ‘’Water From Dry Riverbeds”, www.thewaterchannel.org, has several video films on the same subject, and www.infonet-biovision.org is a farmers’ information platform with inter-active information on farming, including rural water supply. The writer is a consultant on water in ASAL Email: email@example.com
Miti April-June 2010
Trees for the coast A hands-on tree-grower gives some pointers By Will Knocker
have been growing trees at the coast for 25 years and would like to share some thoughts on useful tree species, now that commercial tree growing is a popular option for farmers who want to make best use of their land. In growing trees commercially, one’s main concern is time. Trees need time and the tree grower needs to consider species that will mature for harvesting in the short, mid and long-term. Here we are considering species suitable for timber or other wood products rather than agricultural tree species for fruit, for gardens or for forest enrichment, etc. Let us begin with short-term species. The most obvious one is casuarina (Casuarina equisetifolia), commonly grown along the coast and well known for its toughness, drought resistance, fast and straight growth. This is obviously a prime candidate for planting, being a nitrogen fixer as well. The only downside is that everyone else at the coast will also be planting it… Neem (Azadirachta indica) is also a good choice for its toughness, fast growth and resistance to drought, but needs to be planted close together to ensure upward growth. This large-crowned species requires a lot of pruning, and beware; neem is an invasive species if left to seed and to sucker willy-nilly. Gliricidia sepium from South America is a good short-term species with nitrogen fixing properties. It grows fast and is useful for intercropping and companion planting with other species. One of the species made famous by Renee Haller at the Haller Park north of Mombasa is Conocarpus lancifolius, a tall, tough, quick-growing tree from Somalia, suitable for charcoal and building poles. High rainfall and temperatures make the coast climate ideal for fast production of wood products. Among the species we must mention is Gmelina arborea, one of the fastest growing species in the tropics, and exotic Macaranga species, to my knowledge not yet grown or even tried at the Kenya coast. If you have been to Malindi recently, you will have noticed the fine avenue of shady
A young stand of Casuarina equisetifolia planted in the coastal strip. Spacing is close, to produce relatively thin stems (8-10cm diameter) within a few years. Local residents have taken up this crop with great relish, to supply the building industry with poles.
trees growing by the side of the main road as you enter the town from the south. You would be right if you thought to yourself “That’s funny, there never WERE trees here in the past!” for these are Albizia lebbeck, one of the fastest growing medium-sized trees at the coast. In this case, the trees have sprung to maturity in just ten years! Native to tropical Asia, this species would be an ideal candidate for large-scale commercial growing for wood products generally. Longer-term tree species for consideration should include three of the six mangrove species native to the Kenya coast, namely boriti (Rhizophora mucronata) msikundazi (Heritiera littoralis) and Avicennia marina. Avicennia is definitely a quick grower under suitable conditions. Interestingly, it
grows in seawater, and will die in fresh water! It is a suitable candidate for charcoal and firewood. Boriti and msikundazi both take longer to mature, especially the latter, a tall timber species favoured for dhow masts at the coast. Other neglected species for the mid-term are three acacia species A.tortilis (subspecies raddiana), A. robusta and A. rovumae. A. robusta grows very well and very fast in suitable conditions. To see truly massive examples of this species, visit the Tana River Primate Reserve at Mchelelo on the Tana. An easily obtained indigenous species suitable for its straight growth and fast maturity is Diospyros squarrosa in the family Ebenecae. Perhaps the most valuable species to consider are those that inevitably take the
Miti April-June 2010
longest to grow to a commercial size: the hardwoods. Here three species spring to mind, namely mvule (Milicia excelsa), teak (Tectona grandis) and mahogany (Khaya sp.). These would do best in high rainfall zones. A famous Asian timber tree, Intsia bijuga, would also grow well in suitable high rainfall conditions such as prevail on the south coast. A species often thought to be very slow-growing but is in my experience quite fast, even in testing conditions, is Combretum schumannii, a common species in the Diani and Kibwezi forests, now scarce owing to overexploitation. I would definitely plant this species for its excellent wood. The same can be said of the timber tree Brachyleana huillensis, which grows both at the coast and up-country (such as in the Ngong Forest, Nairobi.) One of the commonest species. occurring naturally at the coast is Sideroxylon inerme (ironwood) as it is tolerant to salt. To my knowledge, this tree This impressive trunk belongs to a mvule tree (Milicia excelsa), an indigenous hardwood of species has never been grown commercially in excellent quality, but taking at least 25 years to grow to these dimensions. Holding the plantations, but should, in my opinion, be a prime tree is the Lamu Zonal Forester, Joseph Maina candidate.
Miti April-June 2010
Get set, go Fund-raising and planting of trees for the Nairobi GreenLine has kicked off By Jan Vandenabeele
he Nairobi GreenLine project was officially launched on February 18, 2010, in a ceremony at East Gate of Nairobi National Park. The “minilaunch” marked the start of fund-raising and planting the first trees. It was a very successful event, well organised and well attended. The guest of honour was Mohammed Wa-Mwachai, PS, Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, while Julius Kip’tengich, Director of KWS, was also present. Many companies operating in Industrial Area and elsewhere generously contributed financially or in kind (e.g. plastic tanks, fertiliser etc), so that by the end of the day a proud Anoop Shah, chairman of the GreenLine Committee, was able to say that a total of Ksh 10 million had been donated. That means almost 28 per cent of the total amount required, which is Ksh 36 million. Much ground has been covered since September last year, the first meetings of the GreenLine Committee, a loose collection of individuals that did not even have a proper name, only a vision and an idea. The vision? To save Nairobi National Park from encroachment and physical degradation along its boundary with Industrial Area.
To remind readers of the realisation of that vision: To establish a 50-metre wide, 30-kilometre long green strip, along the boundary of Nairobi National Park and the Industrial Area. The strip is to be planted with 250,000 indigenous trees (mostly acacias) and surrounded on all sides by an electric fence. This is backed by the necessary infrastructure, like a nursery for raising seedlings and two boreholes for watering the seedlings.
The first 400 metres of interior fence was ready for the so-called “mini-launch”, to stop animals from browsing seedlings; a nursery had been put in place with two water tanks (10m3 capacity) and a borehole rehabilitated to supply water for both the nursery and for watering seedlings if required. Everybody
Ground-breaking ceremonial tree planting! The first seedlings are planted; an exercise to continue until the whole GreenLine (250,000 seedlings) is established.
present at the “mini launch” planted one or more ceremonial trees. Some 362 trees were planted, at a site close to East Gate. Survival rate of the seedlings is 100 per cent. To date, another three kilometres of fence is ready, and Anoop Shah, chairman of the GreenLine Committee, delivering altogether, 19 hectares a speech, standing before a banner with logos of contributing in a strip 3.8 kilometres companies. (Note Better Globe Forestry at the lower left hand corner). long and 50 metres wide have been planted. for which 6,000 - 7,000 people are required, This is approximately 21,000 tree seedlings, and will attempt to set a record for the or about 8 per cent of the 250,000 seedlings Guinness Book of Records. to be planted. To this end, a forest technician To be part of the human chain, one has been employed to supervise the needs to wear a GreenLine T-shirt, available works. Preparations are now under way for at Ksh 1,000. This amount includes a establishing 10 kilometres of electrical fence donation of one seedling, and entry into the from East Gate down to Cheetah Gate. park. Now the MEGA LAUNCH has The centre of activities again will be East been planned to coincide with World Gate, which is roughly in the middle of the Environmental Day, June 5, 2010. On this boundary with Industrial Area. Again, there day, a human chain will be formed alongside will be speeches, ceremonial tree planting, the boundary of the Nairobi National Park fund raising and more activities. YOUR PRESENCE IS REQUIRED. with Industrial Area, from East Gate towards Cheetah Gate in Athi River. The human chain The writer is a member, GreenLine Committee will go for a length of at least 10 kilometres,
Miti April-June 2010
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Published on Jan 31, 2012
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