The world is losing 10 million hectares of forest each year – about the size of Iceland. This is according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. Because of logging, woodworking, carpentry, and architecture, forests are fast disappearing and that is why celebrating “International Day of Forests” is an important part of ensuring that we do not lose an inheritance for future generations.
21st March is a day that celebrates forests and every aspect of this important ecosystem. KCIC partnered with Machakos Youth CBO, one of their clients to commemorate the forestry day at the Machakos People Park in Machakos county. KCIC supports youth and women-led businesses through its Agribiz program to provide them with technical and financial support to grow their ventures. With a plan to reach 1.2 million smallholder beneficiaries in five years, KCIC is at the forefront of ensuring that businesses are sustainable and help mitigate climate change.
During the event, we met Valentine Mbula, owner of “Mbula wa Miti” an agroforestry business that engages in tree planting and seedlings nursery. Valentine has been in the AgriBiz program for 5 months. She expressed her gratitude to KCIC for offering her the knowledge to market her products, network and grow her business.
How is your business benefiting the community?
“Planting trees cleans the environment. Trees provide shade and help us get fruits. Therefore, planting trees is very crucial to the survival of humanity,” Valentine said.
As a youth how did you decide to join Agribusiness?
“The decision to join AgriBiz was because I needed help. Businesses were not doing well and to add to the Covid-19 effects, finances were really hard to come by. But, because of the support from KCIC we are back on our feet,” she added
“Marketing is the one challenge most entrepreneurs face and they need support. KCIC has helped develop a marketing strategy that has made my work very easy. Workshops like this come in handy,” Valentine said. She revealed that she expected to get more marketing opportunities at the event.
What would you tell other individuals interested in agroforestry or those in similar businesses?
“To keep planting trees. Trees are a good source of income. In addition, when you live where there are trees, you feel better,” Valentine said.
In the next five years, as the climate necessitates more forest cover, Valentine is hopeful that the commercial forestry business will grow immensely.
Forests are our main survival means for breathing on earth. Therefore, protecting forests is as important to our health as it is to planetary health.