Monday, June 27, 2011

Making a living out of Melia Volkensii!

When Nyamai Kasikali started a Melia Volkensii plot ten years back, he never knew the potential of the project. Years later; he is making a stable income from the venture. Melia Volkensii is a tree species of the family meleaceae that grows in arid and semi arid areas. It requires minimal amount of rainfall. Locally, it is known as Mukau.

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A melia tree


I was trained by the Kenya Forest Services (KFS ) on how to propagate and manage the species and started implementing the same on my farm,’’ says Kasikali.

According to the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), a mature Melia tree takes twelve (12) years to mature.
But Kasikali says that he harvests his trees at the age of 8 years.’’ An 8 year old melia tree fetches me around Kshs.10, 000 in income,’ he says adding that he also has a nursery for melia volkensii seedlings.


Mukau is harvested for timber and products made from its timber are of high quality hence very expensive. Melia seeds are also consumed by goats
Mr Kasikali also has a tree nursery where he raises a variety of trees chief among them melia volkensii.‘‘Melia Volkensii seedlings are very profitable in that one (1) seedling goes for as much as Kshs.100’’ he says
Future plans

Currently, Mr.Kasikali has a melia plot where he has planted sixty (60) trees of the species but he says that he plans to plant more so as to increase his income.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A farmer's search for water

Mr.Nyamai Kasikali always had a dream. His dream was to harvest rain water and make a living out of it.Over years,the 76 year old farmer has strived to make this dream come true.

The small scale farmer from Kavyuvaa Location in Mutomo District escavated an earth dam in his farm for collecting run off water in a bid to have sufficient rain water for irrigation. But because of insufficient rainfall in the area water from the earth dam was not enough for his irrigation dream.














Above,Mr.Kasikali surveys his water harvesting structures.Below,the 46 feet deep well

“I then decided to dig a well inside the earth dam so as to capture more water,” he says.Mr Kasikali adds that the well is 46 feet deep and the water can last for a whole year. But because of poor rainfall patterns, the well oftenly dries up. This prompted him to construct a reservoir tank where he pumps water from the well for water storage..“I then decided to dig a well inside the earth dam so as to capture more water,” he says.Mr Kasikali adds that the well is 46 feet deep and the water can last for a whole year. But because of poor rainfall patterns, the well oftenly dries up. This prompted him to construct a reservoir tank where he pumps water from the well for water storage.....Read more

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cooking made easy

It is dusk in the Vaati family. Mrs. Catherine Vaati is busy preparing dinner for her family. After preparing the meal she puts up a sufuria of water on the jiko.The following morning, she finds the water still warm and uses it to take a bath.

A few weeks back, she used to wake up in the morning to prepare warm water for bathing. This is no more thanks to a domestic rocket stove jiko, a modern Jiko that the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Promotion of Private Sector in Agriculture (PSDA) and GTZ (a Germany programme) is promoting in Mutomo District

According to the District Home Economics Officer Mr. Benjamin Maingi, thirty (30) demonstration jikos have already been constructed in Mutomo District. He says that GTZ will fund for the project while the Ministry of Agriculture will do the mobilization, offer expertise, training,follow up and submitting reports.....Read more

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A support group embraces sustainable charcoal burning.

Charcoal burning is one of the practices contributing to climate change in today’s world. It leads to deforestation, environmental degradation,air pollution,global warming and other harmful effects to the environment. This has led to poor rainfall patterns and drought in most parts of Africa and the world at large.

However,in some areas people still continue with this practice as a means of survival. One such area is Mutomo District. The District receives minimal rainfall (about 300-800mm) and as such residents are often faced with water and food shortages resorting to alternative means of survival. Residents then sell this product locally or to middle men who supply to major towns of Kitui, Machakos, Thika and Nairobi.


In most parts of the District, residents practice the traditional method of charcoal burning, (earth kilns )which involves cutting down a whole tree (s), .This has led to massive deforestation, a norm which the District’s Kenya Forest Services Department has stepped in to prevent through training the community on sustainable charcoal burning

‘’We encourage the community to come together and form associations, then build modern brick kilns for them which are environmentally friendly and sustainable, ‘’ says Mr.Sammy Mbuko, the Divisional Forest Extension Officer in Mutha Division of Mutomo District...Readmore






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