At least 1,000 families living in Samburu, a county lying in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) region of northeastern Kenya, will benefit from a large-scale agroforestry project initiated by PlantVillage’s Dream Agro Consultancy Limited in partnership with the County Government of Samburu.
The tree nursery project follows up on numerous mechanisms laid down by PlantVillage’s Dream Team officers working to uplift families in the drought-stricken region.
Rose Saniwa, the project’s manager, said the project has already advanced through Phase One, which involved the identification of nursery sites, seeds, and tanks to be used in irrigating the seedlings.
Ms. Saniwa said Phase Two, which is starting soon, will include the actual process of planting three varieties of seedlings: neem (Azadirachta indica), Mukau (Melia volkensii), and silk oak (Grevillea robusta).
"The County Government of Samburu, through the Kenya Forest Association (KFA), has given us an eighth of an acre in Maralal town. We intend to plant more than 70,000 tree seeds, which will be distributed to locals and schools across this county," Saniwa said.
PlantVillage has set aside KSh400,000 to fund the project.
"Samburu Water and Sanitation Company (SAWASCO) has assured us a steady supply of water, which will be held in our 5000-liter tank. We are putting everything in place to make sure the project thrives," she added.
The project will also be a source of employment for youth in the region.
"This project has already employed PlantVillage Dream Team officers. Later, we will have to recruit casual laborers to help manage the nursery. This will provide jobs for thousands of unemployed residents," Saniwa said.
PlantVillage also intends to back up the initiative by planting cover crops such as major grasses Enteropogon Mascrostachyus and Cenchrus Cilliaris to help heal the soil and provide pasture for pastoralists' animals.