Women group in Murang’a eyes Returns from Bamboo Harvest

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Back in 2013, a 24-member group in Maragua Sub-county of Murang’a embarked to grow bamboo after getting support from the Green Belt Movement.

The Maragua Women Bamboo group, currently is manufacturing various household items using the bamboo they planted in a piece of land owned by the movement.

The women are also using the trees harvested from the farm as firewood and for burning of charcoal for fuel in their homes.

Chairlady of the group, Ms Julia Wangari, said the initiative to plant bamboo trees has benefited the members as they do not struggle to get firewood among other household needs.

She said from the training they have received from the movement that was established by Environmentalist, Prof. Wangari Maathai, they are able to make various items which are now in the market.

Bamboo trees have been lauded as best trees to conserve environment and mitigate climate change.

The group has been doing value addition to the trees in making utensils, construction materials among other items.

Green Belt Movement in partnership with other organizations introduced a specific variety of bamboo which grows well in semi-arid areas.

The variety called Savannah Bamboo, is said to mature within short time and can do well in different climatic conditions.

Green Belt Movement Chairperson, Ms Marion Kamau, lauded the efforts of the women group who nurtured the trees to maturity.

She said the land which borders Mariki Dam in Maragua was acquired by the movement to train people on the benefit of bamboo trees.

The Women Group, she further said, will be used to train other members of the community on ways to plant and nurture bamboo trees in their farms.

“Bamboo is a tree with many benefits and if people in this country can embrace planting the tree, many environmental challenges can be well mitigated,” said Ms. Kamau.

Green Belt Movement, she added, has been engaging various groups countrywide to plant trees which are suitable to mitigate climate change.

Ms. Kamau appealed to well-wishers to help the Women Group market their products which are manufactured from bamboo trees.

Chief Executive officer (CEO) of Waterstone Resources Fiber Kenya, Mr. Bernt Froshaug, underscored the importance of bamboo in conservation of environment.

He said bamboo trees are well suited to be planted at riverine areas so as to ensure steady flow of water in rivers.

Froshaug said there are more than 14 species of bamboo trees which can suit in different climatic conditions, saying every part of Kenya can get a particular variety of bamboo.

Principal Environment Officer from Murang’a County, Mr. Lawerance Kamau, said the County will embark to support local groups to plant bamboo trees, especially in Aberdare Forests.

Kamau said there are plans to replace eucalyptus trees with bamboo, especially in water catchment areas.

“Murang’a County Government has elaborate plans to plant trees and especially bamboo in water catchment areas during the current rainy season,” added Kamau.

By Bernard Munyao



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