Business / News
Wednesday, 08 Mar 2017 17:50 EATcgitau@kenyafreepress.com
Kenya’s dry land areas are set to benefit in agro-forestry resources once an In-Vitro multiplication laboratory for Mukau tree is set up at Kamburu area in Machakos County. The facility will facilitate production of thousands of seedlings annually of the valuable commercial tree which performs well in dry areas.
KenGen, KenGen Foundation and Better Globe today signed a Memorandum of Understanding MoU on the development of the highly scientific facility. Known as the mahogany of the dry land, the Mukau tree, botanically known as melia volkensii takes between 15 to 20 years to mature and produces first class hard wood timber. Its propagation among rural households in arid and semi-arid areas will bring development of profitable and sustainable commercial forestry enterprises in these areas.
The in-vitro laboratory will be set-up on KenGen’s 40 hectares of land near Kamburu power station which will be leased to Better Globe Forestry through the company’s corporate social responsibility wing, KenGen Foundation.
Speaking during the signing of the MoU, KenGen MD and CEO Eng Albert Mugo said the project will be developed in two phases, starting with a laboratory, a trial farm for farmers, offices, a green-house and nursery, and an educational exchange program.
The second phase will involve the development of a log yard, a saw mill, workshops and fuel stations, a timber processing industry and warehouses. This will be geared towards processing timber bought from households engaged in Melia Volkensii plantations.
“This project will train farmers and schools on the development and application of best practices in respect to growing of this useful commercial dry land tree” said Eng Mugo.
He said the facility will also enhance capacity building and exchange of academic knowledge between project partners and educational institutions.
“In partnering in this project, the company aims at contributing to climate change mitigation by promoting tree planting through agro-forestry and tree plantations,” said Mugo. The Managing Director of Better Globe Forestry Limited Mr. Jean-Paul Deprins said the multiplication facility and planned timber processing industry will enhance participation of rural households in commercial forestry, as a complementary income generation activity.
“We are excited to see the start of this project which has a high commercial value for thousands of households in rural areas who never dreamt dreamed of growing a commercially viable tree in their land”, said Mr. Deprins
The Melia Volkensii in-vitro multiplication facility is a project run by Better Globe Forestry in collaboration with the University of Ghent in Belgium, the University of Nairobi, and the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI). The project is funded by the Belgian Flemish Government.
Already the Better Globe Forestry is partnering with KenGen Foundation to champion environment conservation in Kitui, Embu and Machakos counties through the Green Initiative Challenge project which targets schools.