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Annex 6: Field excursions

A) Feedback on the field trip to the Aberdares region

Participants assessed that the trip was interesting and they saw plenty of agricultural activity going on in the area. They saw patches of secondary forest on the Aberdares and on the Kikuyu escarpment. In the area, much eucalyptus is grown and the wood, which is used for curing tea, is sold at Kenya shillings 2000-3000/m3 (USD 25-35). This can contribute significantly to improved farm household income.

A very sharp graduation between the tea plantations and farms was also noticed. Participants were informed that the quality of tea from private plantations was superior to that from government areas. Apparently the extension activities in the buffer zone have had a positive impact on the quality of tea.

The potential for on-farm forestry is promising as evidenced by the quality of tree plantations on private farms. Nevertheless, evidence of SF exists as seen from regeneration of croton species. Poverty is evident: farms are parcelled out in tiny sizes coupled with high population that is not matched with farm production. Market and value adding of NTFPs was evident from the last farmer the group visited.

There are local initiatives (as outlined below) for tree farming, as was explained in two plantation sites visited, and in combination with agroforestry systems and improved livestock raising.

Kamuchege biotech tree farming-a community initiative

This is a short text presented by David Mwangi Njuru to the participants during the field trip.


Kamuchege sub-location has about 1500 households with a population of about 6000 people. Several farming activities are carried out that include planting tea, coffee, maize, beans, trees (several species) and keeping dairy goats and poultry. Farming is characterized by traditional systems making it more of a routine than a business venture. Events in the last decade and population pressure have forced farmers to look at farming more as a business enterprise. However, the ground cover in terms of trees was still very low and the situation is getting worse.


The current tree farming initiative in the area is a result of a workshop I attended on market-oriented agroforestry, which was organized by ICRAF in Kisumu on 29 and 30 January 2002. I started by sensitizing the farmers through their self-help groups, churches and at individual level. This involved informing them about the advantages of the new blue gum trees. Those who were interested purchased seedling. Seedlings were sought from Karura Station and transported free of charge to the farmers who had paid for them. This has continued for the last three months and planting has been prompt.


Participants were informed that under their programme the following farmers had so far benefited:


No. of trees planted


Anthony Mburu


Eucalyptus grandis

Benson Kinuthia Kihanya


Clones and E. grandis. Urgently wants to plant two acres

Councillor Nganga


E. grandis

David Thairu


E. grandis

Edward Gachuiri


E. grandis

Francis Maina


E. grandis

Hildah Wanjiku


E. grandis

Jedidah Ngugi


E. grandis

Keneth Kairu


E. grandis

Keziah Kimani


E. grandis

Keziah Wangui


E. grandis

Kibata Kairu and Nyokabi


E. grandis and grevillea

Kihanya Mwaura


Extensionist (clone)

Kimani Kago


E. grandis

Margret Wanjiru


E. grandis

Mary Wairimu Wataku


E. grandis

Mary Wanjiku


Clones and E. grandis replaced coffee

Mary Wanjiru Kamau


E. grandis

Mburu Richard


Clones and E. grandis came to Karura

Migwi Gatura


E. grandis and clones (a lot of mature grevillea)

Mrs Joyce Kairu


Clones and E. grandis

Muiruri Njuru


Clones (replaced coffee)

Mwangi Njuru


E. grandis and clones

Ndungu Njueni


Has requested more planting material

Nganga Appolo


E. grandis. Urgently requires to plant three acres

Nyina wa Boy


E. grandis

Nyumu Njoroge


E. grandis

Pastor Thumbi



Regina Gathoni


E. grandis

Wanjiku Gakomo


E. grandis

Main remarks and comments during field trip:

Constraints which were detected to be interfering with the normal activities of tree planting by the farmers in the region:

Opportunities for further development detected during the field trip

This is a brief report of recent initiatives in tree farming in Kamuchege sub-location where the potential is very high. If so much can be achieved at individual and community efforts, how much more could be done if the process were well planned and coordinated?

B) Feedback on the field trip to Embu

The group visited the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute's (KARI) regional office in Embu, which is responsible for 10 districts in charge of addressing the following issues affecting the region:

Summary of issues discussed during the field trip:

Land tenure: land is privately owned, so community land as such is non-existent. As a consequence, community re-afforestation programmes are not carried out properly because of scarcity of land. New settlers have also moved out from high to low potential areas. They have encountered problems that lead to land conflicts. This indicates that there is an imminent need to review the land policy in order that such problems and conflicts may be solved.

Sharing of benefits and costs: one of the farmers interviewed said that he did not receive any form of assistance from the government despite the fact that the latter had programmes through which services such as training and marketing can be accessed and, when done so, farmers have formed cooperatives.

There is a shortfall in the national policy regarding planting trees and eventually harvesting them. As of now, the uncertainty about planting or not planting trees lies in the fact that farmers have no "tree planted, tree harvested" guarantee. The present practice is that if a farmer plants trees, he/she has to secure permission from the "local chief" to harvest them.

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