An association of forestry small holder seedlings producers is in the process of planting 10 million trees in six pilot counties across the country by mid this year.
It is for this reason Farm Forestry Smallholder Producers Association of Kenya (FF-SPAK) has partnered with stakeholders to train tree nursery business owners in Kisii County to expand their production through resource mobilization, advocacy and marketing skills among others.
Speaking during a two day training of 30 young farmers in Kisii town, the Association’s Marketing and Value Chain Development Officer Paul Okoth said the training was meant to empower the farmers to address challenges of their businesses.
Okoth said by the end of the pilot project which also covers Kisumu, Homa Bay, Kilifi, Kwale and Taita Taveta, the farmers will be able to practice agribusiness and create jobs besides addressing challenges of climate change and lack of markets for their crops.
He said this was the sixth training session supported by UNDP and Forestry ministry, for the representatives of various tree nursery planters associations from across the county, each having three representatives.
Clive Maragia, the chairman of Kisii Tree Planters Association applauded the exercise saying 3,600 farmers of indigenous, exotic and fruit tree seedlings would benefit.
Maragia described the tree business as beneficial to the economy, environment and good for food security among others.
He said it would help farmers address poor access to markets and credit, lack of awareness and poor quality seeds.
Maragia said the association was collaborating with other farmers to incorporate tree planting into other crop farming saying some indigenous trees were beneficial for foliage and nitrogen fixing to the soil.
Simon Birundu, a member of Banana Tree Nursery Youth Group said the training had come in handy for the 30 group members who currently anticipate reaping from their 300,000 seedlings based in Timani village in Keumbu ward of the county.
He said income from the venture had helped him build a house and pay school fees for his children.
Birundu explained that with less challenges, there will be better performance of the seedlings, accessibility to market and information.
Another member Tabitha Moraa described tree seedling business as beneficial as she is able to buy food and clothes for her family. Moraa said the training had enlightened her on how to reach more customers.
By Jane Naitore