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Farm champions for tree planting campaign

Japur Farm venture has joined other environmentalists to offer various tree seedling solutions to residents from Western and Central Kenya to improve forest cover and conserve the environment in the two regions.

The farm based in Kisumu and Kirinyaga counties is at the forefront to actualize President William Ruto’s clarion call of planting 5 billion trees in a 5-year environmental conservation drive.

‘‘We were very much happy when President Ruto made the statement and we are willing to be part of the initiative as it will affect us directly in terms of tree seedling production,’’ said Caleb Nyamanga, an Agronomist at the Kisumu farm.

They have been creating awareness of tree seedling planting by engaging the area residents, schools, community-based Organizations (CBOs) as well as local leaders.

Nyamanga says that the farm approached political aspirants during the August General Election campaigns to help purchase and distribute tree seedlings to the voters.

‘‘When the politicians were out campaigning, we urged them to give out tree seedlings to the electorates to help in curbing Climate Change in the region,’’ Nyamanga said, noting that it produced both positive and negative results as some voters preferred cash handouts.

He revealed that the initiative saw an aspirant taking over 200 passion fruit seedlings, which he distributed to Women Groups and widows. Another politician took eucalyptus, pine and indigenous tree seedlings that he gave out to Youth Groups to plant.

Japur Farms Solutions majors in various services including compound flowers, fencing plants, agricultural consultancy, fish and coffee farming, landscaping and fruit and tree seedlings production.

The venture has partnered with Miron Foundation which buys and donates tree seedlings to widows and orphans for planting. The farm then follows up and advises accordingly.

‘‘We also do ornamental plants such as the Thuiya Italian Cyprus and grass used for landscaping,’’ Nyamanga said.

Nyamanga observes that they experience a high rate of sales of tree seedlings during the rainy seasons because most people around the Western region depend on rain-fed agriculture.

The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) has tremendously helped them by providing professional development training courses for the farm staff to empower them in management and online marketing.

In addition, the farm partners with the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) to train their employees in poultry house construction to expand their agribusiness venture.

‘‘Pamoja CBO has also helped us by training our staff in writing business proposals and registering businesses,’’ Nyamanga said.

The training has borne several positive impacts on Japur Farm as they are now able to market their services online and write proposals to different organizations which enables them to give requisite exposure to their products which are certified by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS).

According to the Agronomist, ‘‘the demand for fruit seedlings has grown exponentially in the region as most people don’t trust the kind of fruits they buy from the market. They prefer to grow their own in their kitchen gardens. That is where we come in by developing the gardens and planting the fruit seedlings for our clients.’’

In this way, he avers, the customers can have tasty healthy fruits from their farms.

The farms’ CEO Louis Leakey says the farm commenced operations in 2018 with only two employees. Notably, it is now a registered business and boasts an Agri-Business Manager, Emma Akinyi and Mathew Tago the Landscape Manager among other workers.

‘‘The motivation to establish the farm which was to enhance healthy living has come in handy to help in the fight against Climate Change,’’ disclosed Leakey.

Further, he urged the locals to embrace growing certified fruit seedlings towards achieving a healthy lifestyle.

The quarter of an acre farm at Daraja-Mbili in Kisumu West Sub County acts as a feeder to its main headquarters in Mwea town, Kirinyaga County.

The farm offers grafted mangoes, apples, avocados, and pawpaw seedlings with passion fruits being most client’s favourite.

‘‘We coordinate with our Mwea farm when we lack a particular brand or whenever there’s a deficit in a client’s order,’’ Nyamanga divulged adding that essentially, they cover Kisumu, Siaya, Migori, Homa Bay and the Western region.

The farm delivers tree seedlings through courier services to diverse locations to effectively serve its expanding clientele.

‘‘We made a proposal to the county government to provide them with the tree seedlings and offer training on how they can be planted to increase forest cover in Kisumu,’’ Nyamanga said, adding that this was in an effort to help increase Kisumu’s Forest cover from 1.5 per cent to the 10 per cent national target.

By Rolex Omondi and Robert Ojwang’

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