PlantVillage is crafting biodegradable potting tubes for high-value fruit trees in Kenya

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The PlantVillage agroforestry team in Kenya is working on producing eco-friendly potting tubes as an alternative to plastic materials, an initiative that holds the promise of significant environmental conservation, an expansion of Kenya's forested areas, and the generation of employment opportunities for young individuals.

PlantVillage is crafting biodegradable potting tubes for high-value fruit trees in Kenya


This innovative project, which revolves around the utilization of biodegradable pots crafted from recycled cardboard and discarded newspapers, will foster sustainable agriculture by empowering smallholder farmers to cultivate high-value fruit trees within their farms and compounds.

High-value fruit tree seedlings planted in the tubes will be fortified with biochar and mycorrhizal fungi to ensure robust growth. Biochar will enrich soil fertility, while mycorrhizal fungi will nurture tree development by supplying essential nutrients to the roots.

A casual worker crafting a potting tube from cardboard material.

The project has already been set in motion, with a focus on engaging farmers in Bungoma, Busia, Baringo, and Kilifi counties. These farmers will actively participate in the entire process, receiving seedlings on loan, which they can repay upon their first harvest.

The potting tubes, measuring 13 centimeters in both diameter and height, are fashioned by soaking precisely cut and sized cardboard materials in water, which are then expertly folded into cylindrical forms and then filled with soil.

Some of the potting tubes prepared from cardboard material.

Sheillah Odawa, an agroforestry officer from Bungoma County, notes that a tree will be replaced as soon as it fails to grow, ensuring the sustained success of the initiative.

"We've collaborated with local farmers in four counties across Kenya, and right here in Bungoma County, we've partnered with lead farmer Peter Wabwoya and two dedicated local laborers to cultivate 1,000 tree seedlings," she explained.

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