Not even halfway through this project and so much has been achieved already! The Save Mount Kenya Forest from Extinction Group (SMKFEG) has been working tirelessly since they received funding from ITF for a project which started in May 2011.
The first thing they did was bought all the equipment they needed which included 3 watering cans, 5 pangas (machetes), 50,000 polythene bags and three lorry loads of manure! It then took them two months to put all the soil into the polythene bags.
After locating a lot of the seeds they needed from the Kenya Forestry Research Institute, they were also able to source other local seeds such as Croton macrostachys from individual farmers. The seeds were germinated in the seed bed and then transferred to the polythene bags.
Already three tree nurseries have been established and 30,000 seedlings have been germinated. These seedlings need to be watered twice a day but luckily, despite the fact Kenya is experiencing droughts, part of the training on this project was about planting in water catchment areas so their seeds are safe for now.
A big part of this project has been focused on training: Agro-forestry training for local farmers, Environmental Conservation awareness training for community members, sustainable land use and nursery establishment to name but a few.
The project is fully on target, the next big thing is the transplanting of the seedlings which should hopefully take place during the short rains expected in October.
Program co-ordinator, Paulino Mugendi Damiano tells us “our entire tree planting project has been successful with funding from International Tree Foundation. With this fund, pressure on forest land will decrease whilst food crop production will increase.”