More than 300 farmers in Kwale County have received 20,000 coconut seedlings worth Sh3million from Base Titanium Mining Company.
The firm’s Programmes Superintendent, Mwanaharusi Khamis said the initiative was designed to revive coconut farming in the region and create an additional source of income for the beneficiaries.
Mivumoni boda boda youth group also benefited from the sale of the seedlings to the company which carries out its mining operations in Maumba area.
“Coconut farming has been on the decline over the years and hopefully these seedlings will boost production of this very lucrative crop,” said Khamis.
The superintendent said the company will also support local farmers with the necessary training to ensure successful coconut harvests. “We will provide the necessary tools and training to ensure successful farming practices and harvests and post-harvest management of the crop,” she added.
Khamis noted that coconut trees were highly versatile, providing nutritional benefits and materials for construction, thus offering alternative and innovative sources of income for growers.
“The crop has many products with great economic value. Coconut water alone is for instance, recognised for its nutritional qualities hence the need to support the sector,” she added.
The seedlings were distributed to community groups in Mafisini, Mivumoni, Eshu and Mwachande villages in Msambweni Sub-county as part of the company’s livelihoods programmes.
The number of coconut trees has been declining at an alarming rate, due to neglect and what experts say is the continued loss of agricultural land to the many developers setting base in the county.
For instance, it is estimated that over 200,000 coconut trees have so far been cut down to give way to massive mining activities and sugar plantations in Msambweni alone.
Residents say the government needs to invest in the revival of the coconut industry by ensuring more trees are planted.
By James Muchai