Fruits for Livelihoods
Fruits for Livelihoods is an initiative of Mount Kenya Environmental Conservation (MKEC) in Embu County, Kenya. The project will provide support and training for farmers from vulnerable families to develop an enterprise raising and selling high-value grafted fruit trees. By creating a shared source of income and access to fast-maturing fruit and nut trees, Fruits for Livelihoods aims to improve the security and nutrition of 160 vulnerable families. This project is funded by Guernsey Overseas Aid and will form a part of the 20 Million Trees for Kenya’s Forests campaign.
Helping farms thrive
The livelihoods of Embu County communities are deeply dependent on farming and other land use, which provide both incomes and food (as well as other important resources). 44% of Embu County residents are employed in family agriculture, mostly on small land holdings of 2 acres or less. Fruits for Livelihoods will work with vulnerable families (defined by the project as those with less than 1 acre and either female led or with 6 or more dependants) who are most at risk from poverty and malnutrition.
Planting fruit and nut trees is a popular way that local farmers can improve the productivity of their land. Through this project community-based self-help groups, with the help of MKEC, will establish four tree nurseries and train participants to graft their own high-quality fruit trees. These can then be sold for a profit or planted to enhance their own farms. The project will focus on three crops (mango, avocado and macadamia nut) which have high nutritional value and sell for a good price in local markets.
ITF have been partnering with MKEC since 2011. MKEC is a voluntary organisation working throughout Embu County towards forest restoration and sustainable livelihoods. They currently work with 20 self-help groups, mainly women’s groups, to produce seedlings for forest restoration and for use on farms.