The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that around 1.6 billion people depend directly on forests for food, shelter, energy, medicines, and income. On International Day of Forests, we are reminded of this fact. Everything is either directly or indirectly connected to forests, whether it is the food we eat or the water we drink. Forests attract rain and the homes we live in. Most of our homes are built using wood that is from trees. It’s all connected.
KCIC is a one-stop shop supporting innovative climate change solutions and sustainable development in Kenya. It does this through various programs and projects that support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Through one of its programs, AgriBiz, KCIC has enabled 2400 youth and women-led agribusinesses to be funded.
One such beneficiary is Nicholas Musili, who attended the “International Day of Forests’ ‘ held at Machakos People’s Park. He runs the Machakos Youth CBO, a network of 8 different self-help groups in Machakos involved in tree planting and nursery establishment. Together with Kenya Forest Service and Machakos county, the network brought forth an exhibition to showcase some of the work of KCIC clients in Agroforestry.
Nicholas stated that in recent times the climate has changed. “Sometimes there is heavy rainfall while other times, there is little to no rain. This tends to affect their business as tree planting requires a lot of water.”
The Machakos based CBO, through its nurseries, has created employment opportunities termed as Green Employment. Nicholas stressed that one can start a nursery at zero cost. To reduce wastage, his company recycles paper to use as planting pots.
Nicholas added that, if the counties partner with farmers to buy tree seedlings, the nursery business will be lucrative. The venture has the potential of creating an income stream, especially for young people in rural areas.
When asked how climate change has affected his business, he emphasized the issue of water. He is, however, optimistic because he has put in place some practices to ensure sustainable growth?
“Climate change affects the planting and growth of trees. Nurseries require a lot of water. But during dry seasons, getting water for irrigation for the seedlings is usually a challenge,” Nicholas explained.
The venture has sought not to depend on rainfed agriculture and practice irrigation. With these, the CBO can nurture and grow seedlings at ease.
“Deforestation for farmland and settlement is our greatest enemy. Every individual must plant more trees to reduce global warming,” Nicholas concluded.