Late last year (2nd November), Better Globe Forestry hosted the launch of the Government’s short rains tree planting programme at Kanduya sub-location, Mwingi north constituency.

Confusingly, the so-called “short rains” are actually the main rains for the area concerned. The months of October, November and beginning of December, is the principal planting season for both agricultural crops and trees.

The event took place at Kanduya Primary School and present were key forestry actors like Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI) and stakeholders including the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), the County Government of Kitui, the National Government through local administrators, Kandwia Primary School management and local farmers.

Melia volkensii (Mukau) was the main species ceremonially planted at the launch; it is a highly drought resistant indigenous tree that BGF specializes in; it is relatively fast growing and its timber is likened to the mahogany of the rainforest. BGF, Kefri and KFS donated 1,000 mukau seedlings each to local farmers, led by Jemmimah Nzangi, a model farmer who has been involved for a long time in BGFs farmers’ programme.

The event was attended by the deputy director KEFRI, Joseph Githiomi, the Ecosystem Conservator of Kitui County Joyce Nthuku, Managing Director BGF Jean-Paul Deprins and the Executive Director of Forestry Jan Vandenabeele.

Dignitaries present, emphasized that everyone should become an ambassador for tree growing in their respective localities. Fittingly, it started raining during the speeches and entertainment. The dignitaries were sitting smug under their tent, while the on-lookers and performing school children got wet. All in all, the launch was a great success, thoroughly enjoyed by the local community, happily walking away with their seedlings for planting on their land.

This articles was first published in MITI Magazine, issue #1 2019, by Ambrose Musango and Mcrae Muthomi.