By E M Musyoka - Chairman, Sosoma Ranching Cooperative Society Ltd (SRCS)
Further studies in the Ukambani region (1999-2003), stimulated by the Belgian Technical Cooperation, the Forest Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Kenya-Belgium Study and Consultancy Fund, somehow bore the seed of a future major forestry intervention in the ranch.
Kilimanjaro Agricultural Cooperative Society came up with an irrigated Cotton Production Project, which was fully embraced by the shareholders of the society. However, the Kilimanjaro cooperative members vanished after facing the harsh realities of the environment.
That did not dampen the spirit of the leaders of SRCS and they continued to search for a partner to invest in the ranch. Thus in May 2008, Better Globe Forestry Ltd signed a memorandum of understanding with SRCS, to undertake a project of planting Melia volkensii (mukau) and Acacia senegal (kilaa) trees. So far, this project is advancing very well and every precaution has been taken to ensure it is a success.
This project is expected to change the entire landscape in the area for, apart from growing trees and creating jobs, factories will be built and a greater socio-economic impact will be felt.
SRCS Ltd has come a long way from a run-down society to this viable proposition, in which member are bound to reap substantial benefits from their investments. This is thanks to the involvement of the government in all levels of this project and the personal support of Vice President Hon Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, who single-handedly ensured that SCRS was granted a letter of allotment in 1991. We look forward to his untiring effort and support as we venture into this investment. Indeed our very own survival as a society now depends on the survival of our trees and related products.
All in all, Sosoma Ranch has a bright future based on tree planting and the accompanying water exploration, which is going on now and which will tie up with wealth and employment creation as advocated in the Government Recovery Strategy, 2003.