Fruits for Livelihoods was an initiative of Mount Kenya Environmental Conservation (MKEC) and ITF in Embu County, Kenya. Project activities took place from March 2019 to May 2020. The project succeeded in providing a source of livelihoods to vulnerable communities, by creating a shared source of income and access to fast-maturing fruit and nut trees, Fruits for Livelihoods improved the security and nutrition of 160 households.
It all started with the initiative of a community group from Embu County to create self-help model groups whose aim was to set up tree nurseries as income generating enterprises. The self-help groups were composed of 160 farmers, of which 115 are women. The farmers were trained in tree-grafting of various fruit trees, including avocado, tomato, passion fruits and macadamia trees. The trees reached good price locally which encouraged the beneficiaries to diversify their farming systems by planting fast-maturing fruit trees. This well designed initiative ensured an increase in income and family nutrition on a long term basis.
Community empowerment through trainings
By March 2020, Fruits for Livelihoods and its self-help groups generated £1913 through the sales of seedlings and planted more than 15,000 fruits and nut trees. Capacity building workshops were conducted to equip the farmers with strong knowledge and skills as agronomic practices – techniques which assure the production of high quality and healthy seedlings and fruits. Many training workshops were also conducted on different areas from tree nursery management, leadership, grafting to project sustainability.
This training enabled 160 farmers – who are also direct beneficiaries – to gain ownership and autonomy of the activities on their lands. The groups are now fully functional and sustainable and within the next two years the targeted total income will be beyond £12,000.
ITF is very proud to have worked with such an inspiring partner as MKEC especially with its team project Coordinator David Kinyua Ngiri whose experience in agriculture and biotechnology allowed the project to reach its full potential. We also would like to acknowledge the commitment and amazing work of lead farmers, Anastasia Njoki Njagi and Patrick Nyagah. They were supported by the MKEC team composed of Chairman Paulino Mugendi, Manager Julian Wanja, Forester Isaiah Kinoti, Field Extension Worker Esther Wawira and ITF Kenya Programmes Manager, Teresa Gitonga. The project was also supported by the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture who provided the necessary skills and trainings to ensure the project’s success.
A big thank you to Guernsey Overseas Aid for funding and supporting this project.