Better Globe Forestry

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 exportThis is a 20ha commercial farm 220km South of Nairobi in the Southern Ukambani drylands. It is watered by Kibwezi river, allowing irrigation of vegetables (1.5ha) and fruit trees (mangoes 7ha). Other activities include tree growing (mostly mukau or Melia volkensii and Azadirachta indica, the neem tree), small-scale sheep rearing and bee keeping. Of course there is a tree nursery, and activities such as fodder production for the sheep and compost making.

A special feature of Mukuyu farm is its low pressure irrigation system, with cheap 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 ltr of water.

Jan Vandenabeele, the Executive Director of Better Globe Forestry (BGF) is one of the directors of Kibwezi Mukuyu Farm Ltd. Its activities are independent of BGF, but there are synergies to exploit, notably regarding training opportunities for farmers in drylands. BGF has a programme for capacity building for farmers in the bufferzones around its plantations, and farmers by nature are persons on the look-out for innovations useful for their particular circumstances. Not everything they find on Mukuyu farm will suit them. But among the variety of technologies on offer, inevitably some are of interest to them. Easy examples are the different drought resistant species of fodder plants for livestock, the use of biopesticides based on neem, and modern bee keeping.

Simple techniques like mulching to limit evaporation, stressing mango trees for out-of-season production, creation of impenetrable hedges with indigenous acacias are all appealing features for visitors, willing to learn.

Another synergy for BGF is that it is a research ground for its own activities. An example is the occurrence of a stem cancer on mukau, which after analysis proved to be of bacterial origin. Similarly, several more, small, facts contribute to a continuous incremental improvement for BGF’s plantation management. The synergies also work the other way round, as Mukuyu Farm has benefited of the continuous quality improvement system as practised in BGF.

Mukuyu Farm aims at zero tolerance for erosion and truly is a model farm regarding its technical answers to its ecologically daunting environment. It employs 12 people and seasonal labour when required, and as such contributes to employment in the Kenyan countryside.


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
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