Better Globe Forestry

Out Growers

Better Globe Forestry (BGF) has developed a model to encourage farmers to become out growers in the buffer zones around its plantations. The company started an interesting out growers experiment in the buffer zone of Sosoma.

In a pilot project, BGF assists farmers in Nguni Division (Mwingi East District) to establish mukau (Melia volkensii) woodlots. The people in the area appreciate mukau for the quality of its wood and for its fast growth. By the end of the three-year trial project, 150 hectares will be established with 100 farmers as beneficiaries.

These farmers are recruited from the community around Mboti Primary School in Mbuvu Location, Nguni Division of East Mwingi District. However, since no permanent source of water is available in the area, which is semi-arid, a borehole was drilled to supply water for both the community (and its livestock), the school and the tree nursery. Community members formed a water users' association (WUA) to act as the local water service supplier that would run the borehole and sell the water. Unfortunately, the borehole was dry. However, other alternatives for water are being explored.

Kiambere site

A block of two-and-a-half-year-old mukau. Growth is excellent.A block of two-and-a-half-year-old mukau. Growth is excellent.

Better Globe Forestry Ltd (BGF) started its first fieldwork in Kenya at the end of 2006, at Katithini by Lake Kiambere in eastern Kenya. The Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (TARDA) owns the land and its management was keen to implement an afforestation project of 5,000 hectares around the biggest part of the lake.

The lake is fed by Kenya's biggest river, the Tana, which originates from the slopes of Mount Kenya. Its tributaries find their way to the lowlands through densely populated areas, carrying plenty of soil from erosion.

TARDA has a catchment protection programme, but the waters of the river are very brown every rainy season. The situation is compounded by intense erosion around the lake, where literally thousands of tonnes of soil are washed into the lake after every major downpour. This fills up the dam, decreasing its lifespan, and hence reducing the capacity for provision of affordable electricity.

Nyangoro site

Nyangoro ranch at the start of the rainy season. Grass is sproutingNyangoro ranch at the start of the rainy season. Grass is sprouting

Witu Nyongoro Ranch Directed Agricultural Company Ltd, to give it its full name, is the owner of Nyongoro Ranch in Lamu district, at the northern end of the Kenyan coastline. The ranch is about 32,000 hectares, part of which has been leased to Better Globe Forestry Ltd. It is lush savannah land, with clumps of trees and sometimes a forest, lying across the Lamu-Malindi highway.

As its name implies, the ranch was home to livestock rearing activities in the early 1980s, until misfortune struck, and cattle rustlers stole hundreds of head of cattle. Coupled with mismanagement by ranch officials, the ranch could not overcome its problems and fell into a dormant state for over 15 years.

Preliminary contacts between BGF and the ranch started as early as March 2007. Several site visits took place for assessment of the ranch and presenting BGF to the ranch committee members in Witu. These working visits continue up to today.

Sosoma site

The only use for Sosoma at the moment - extensive grazing by drought-resistant animals like these camelsThe only use for Sosoma at the moment - extensive grazing by drought-resistant animals like these camels

Sosoma Ranch is a 60,000-hectare chunk of land in Mwingi, eastern Kenya. It is also the biggest challenge that Better Globe Forestry Ltd faces currently. The ranch is located along a major highway, Thika-Garissa road, which leads to Nairobi. The area is largely unpopulated because it is quite inhospitable.

The owners, the Sosoma Ranching Cooperative Society Ltd, tried to develop the ranch for livestock keeping in the 1970s, but were unsuccessful. The reasons for the failure included undercapitalisation, the hot climate (with a thriving tsetse fly population), drought (no watering points at critical moments), wildlife (lions like to eat cattle for breakfast, lunch and dinner) and a ranch management that could probably have been better prepared for the task.

However, the area is flat, has a good soil composition and quality, no rocks and enjoys good access. In addition, BGF's preferred tree species, notably, mukau (Melia volkensii) and Acacia senegal, grow naturally there.

Mukuyu farm

Five-year-old mango trees, watered by drip irrigation. All mango trees have been grafted, and most of the grafts are of the Apple variety, of excellent quality and good for exportFive-year-old mango trees, watered by drip irrigation. All mango trees have been grafted, and most of the grafts are of the Apple variety, of excellent quality and good for export

Mukuyu Farm is a 20-hectare commercial farm located 220 kilometres south of Nairobi in the southern Ukambani drylands. It is watered by Kibwezi River, allowing irrigation of vegetables on 1.5 hectares and mango trees on 7 hectares.

Other activities include tree-growing, mostly of mukau (Melia volkensii) and neem (Azadirachta indica) trees, small-scale sheep rearing and beekeeping. There is a tree nursery, fodder production for the sheep and compost making.

A special feature of Mukuyu Farm is its low pressure irrigation system, with inexpensive water storage tanks. These are simple earth embankments with a plastic liner, linked for irrigation with Kenyan-made PE pipes. Their sizes are flexible, and such basins can contain anything between 30 - 100,000 litres of water.

Map of where we are

The map below indicates the areas where we have the Better Globe Forestry projects. You can also get a close up look using the Google Earth Coordinates on the bottom right side of the web page


Land Owners Presentations

Sites Google Earth Co-ordinates

NB: Remember to copy the coordinates as they are or type observing all the spaces between the numbers, to Google Earths Fly in section
1. Kiambere Site: -0.689822, 37.91
2. Nyangoro Site: 02 19.782'S, 040 19.416'E
Download Google Earth Application here

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