Private Nurseries Helping Communities Thrive in the Face of Climate Change
PlantVillage’s movement to plant 3 million trees by 2023 to capture carbon and address climate risks and food insecurity is a blessing to smallholder farmers who are seen to reap from the lucrative business – growing and selling trees. One such farmer is Consolata Tata, 59, a widow and a mother of three children located in Ikapolok Village, Busia County, Kenya.
Farmer Consolata Tata managing her nursery located in Busia County, Kenya
“I chose to venture into the tree seedlings propagating business when I realized there was market availability. Many organizations like PlantVillage were planting trees in my community.”
Her journey, fueled by passion, determination and commitment despite the odds has reaped her cash. In less than a year, she established a tree nursery with a capacity of 36000 Grevillea robusta seedlings.
“I have already sold 4500 seedlings to PlantVillage. I am soon doing roofing to my leaking house. The extra income will be used to establish a chicken coop.” She beamed while watering her seedlings.
Farmer Consolata Tata watering grevillea seedlings in her nursery in Busia,Kenya
Consolata understands the benefit of agroforestry to improve soil health and combat erosion, which in turn helps to increase yields and reduce farmers’ reliance on synthetic fertilizer.
For Peter Wabwoya, 59, from Sikata, Bungoma County, PlantVillage has been a game changer. For years, he owns a tree nursery with over 100,000 seedlings of different varieties, predominantly Grevillea robusta and fruits like passion.
“I attribute this achievement to the training I received from PlantVillage Dream Team since 2021.”
Peter Wabwoya lucrative tree nursery venture in Bungoma, Kenya
Peter has a ready market of farmers from the PlantVillage community where he can easily sell the seedlings. He prides himself on promoting different fruit production among the farmers in his community as an income-generating activity. With his profits, he bought a motorcycle to help him with transportation.
These two are among thousands of farmers in Kenya who have planted more than 1 million trees across 13310 farms in PlantVillage’s agroforestry project funded by Cisco Foundation.
The organization ventured into supporting farmers to establish their tree nurseries to meet the demand. This was a result of a deficit in seedlings during tree-planting initiatives to promote a better climate that will eradicate drought, hunger, and soil erosion.
“Private nursery provides a continuous and affordable supply of quality seedlings. These empowered farmers who own nurseries sell trees to their community. Our project is converting farms into agroforestry farmlands intending to reach net zero.” Stated Fred Ocholla, a Dream Team member leading this project.
Agrorestry farmland in Bungoma County,Kenya
Both Consolata and Peter expressed sentiments on the impactful role of the Dream Team and said that the team provided advisory services on nursery management.
“I worked closely with Brian Meli, a Dream Team from my region to set up my nursery. He helped me to source for seeds and polybags, prepare seedbeds, and advised me every step of the way,” said Consolata.
Consolata plans to expand her nursery capacity four-fold, purchase water storage equipment and receive training on fruit tree husbandry.
“Drought is my biggest challenge. My well dried up during the drought period and I lost some seedlings due to water scarcity.”
Tree seedlings affected by drought in Consolata Tata nursery
PlantVillage has supported 47 tree nursery owners established in Busia, Bungoma, Kilifi, Narok and Samburu with market and provision of polybags. The nurseries have a capacity of 1.4 million seedlings including a wide range of agroforestry species, fruit and timber, herbs and medicinal plants and ornamental trees. The goal is to have nurseries in each location where farmers can easily pick trees, hence reducing CO2 emissions due to no transportation required.