Agro-forestry

Report on SEEK Agroforestry Department for 2017

by Peter Okudo

Peter checking on widow's woodlot

Peter checking on widow’s woodlot

Activities and initiatives we started and/or completed  accelerated us towards achieving our desired vision for a transformed greater Suba where God’s creation flourishes under the stewardship of man.

Currently the percentage of tree cover in Homa Bay County is an alarming 2.59% with an estimated deforestation rate of 200 hectares a year in Western and Nyanza Provinces Kenya (Daily Nation April 19, 2016) Deforestation causes climate change and results in great suffering in this area where subsistence farming is a main source of livelihood.  Trees provide shade, cooling an area, and their leaves transpire water vapor for rain. Leaves also absorb CO2. Their roots hold soil and their leaves soften impact of rain preventing soil erosion. Fallen leaf litter causes water to sink into the ground instead of running off and thus raises the water table. Because of deforestation, once agriculturally productive areas have become barren.ruth watching her future was away

 

As the SEEK agro forestry department initiated discussions with local stakeholders in various forums concerning the need to reverse the devastation by planting trees,  it was the probation department of Mbita law courts that took up this concern . As a result, we were engaged by the Sub County Probation Officer to provide hands-on tree planting and after tree care training to people on probation. Our follow up found that the planted trees are doing well and the beneficiaries are happy. We intend to expand this project engaging other groups and institutions.

SEEK Tree Nursery consistently raises a large number of indigenous tree seedlings  so that these trees can be successfully planted out in the community. In 2017,  visits to Nyatambe Mixed , Nyabera Girls  and Moi Girls Secondary Schools gave us opportunities to give environmental teachings and to form environmental clubs.Moi Girls Sindo on environment

The clubs saw the need for planting trees and put much effort into this and overall over 500 trees were given and planted in these three schools. Regular follow ups indicate these tree planting initiatives were a success. We specifically intend to plant more trees in these schools.

Baadilisha Eco Village is an environmental community-based organization on Rusinga Island. Because SEEK had indigenous trees available in its  Tree Nursery they worked with us, and over 700 trees were planted in Rusinga Island hills.

Widows’ Fruit Farms and Woodlots. Widows’ fruit farms and woodlots are meant to support the widows and act as community demo sites. SEEK has so far established 3 widows’ woodlots, 1 community woodlot and 6 widows fruit farms. Three woodlots are in the intended condition whereas one is being improved. Follow up found that five widows’ fruit farms are currently supporting their families with food and money. As a community demo site, one Adek Openda, a villager from Kombe is currently copying what the widows are doing. We are assisting  and have planted seven grafted mangoes in his farm though he lacks a good fence.

ON SITE MAINTENANCE of the SEEK Tree Nursery:. Plastic ban by the Government of Kenya has really affected the operation of many tree nurseries. Kenya Forest Service  visited the SEEK campus and our tree nursery to establish our capacity to handle plastic. We are allowed to use the plastic containers we normally collect in town for raising tree seedlings because they felt we have the ability to handle waste properly and also to influence people to use plastic properly.

CHALLENGES: We deeply believe in local tree seed collection. The season didn’t support the production of good and healthy seeds in greater Suba. We then found it necessary to buy some seeds from Kenya Forestry Research Institute(KEFRI) which is a bit expensive.