RESEARCH COMPONENT

Better Globe Forestry (BGF) has for a number of years been involved in research on cloning of Melia volkensii. The company collaborates with a number of research institutes, among them the University of Ghent (Belgium), the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), and the University of Nairobi. The Flemish Government (northern part of Belgium) through its Inter-University Council funded the first research programme in 2016-17, and a follow-up is currently going on (2018-2021). BGF was instrumental in realising this cooperation.
The research programmes have two components - bio-technology (in-vitro cloning) and bio-pesticides (insecticidal properties of the tree). The programme aims at:

  • Improving research infrastructure of relevant labs in the University of Nairobi,
  • establishing protocols for in-vitro propagation, rooting and acclimatisation of the species,
  • identification of the active components of diverse melia extracts, and
  • capacity building and training.
Professors of Ghent University come regularly to Kenya, scientific staff of the Kenyan partners travel to Belgium, and several PhD and MSc students are working on different aspects of the above subjects.
It is expected that the protocols will allow BGF to engage in large-scale clonal multiplication of melia. In addition, BGF expects commercial formulations and crude extracts of melia-based bio-insecticides to be available by the end of the programme.
On a less scientific but practical level, BGF has pioneered the way in fine-tuning nursery proceedings, pruning and thinning protocols, and irrigation methods for its industrial plantations. This knowledge has been shared freely with interested partners and even published in a number of booklets (see below).

Photo captions:
  1. Participants of a workshop on propagation and utilisation of Melia volkensii at the University of Nairobi in 2017.
  2. A petri-dish with root development from a melia plant, in the laboratory.
  3. A banner announcing the workshop in 2017.
  4. From left, Profs Guy Smagghe and Stefaan Werbrouck from the University of Ghent, with Dr Titus Magomere (University of Nairobi) collecting germplasm from elite melia trees in KEFRI's seed orchard in Kibwezi.
  5. Participants of a workshop on "Synergy for mass propagation of elite Melia volkensii clones and exploiting its derived bio pesticides" at the University of Nairobi in August 2019.
  6. Victor Jaoko, PhD student, next to a poster showing his research results, during a scientific conference in Belgium.
  7. Another poster showing research results on bio-insecticides from Melia volkensii.








RESEARCH COMPONENT GALLERY


The audience during a workshop of the research project, in Nairobi University.
The public announcement of the workshop in 2017.
Profs Guy Smagghe, Stefaan Werbrouck, with Dr Titus Magomere (University of Nairobi) collecting germplasm from elite melia trees in KEFRI's seed orchard in Kibwezi.
A petri-dish with root development from a melia plant, in the lab.
Victor Jaoko, PhD student, aside a poster showing his research results, during a scientific conference in Belgium.
Anthony Igecha (Managing Trustee, KenGen Foundation), Jean-Paul Deprins (MD, Better Globe Forestry), Nicolas Nihon (Ambassador of Belgium to Kenya) and Clement Ng'oriareng (Head, Dryland Department, Kenya Forest Service), at the opening of the melia workshop at the University of Nairobi in August 2019.
Insect cages to study the effect of melia extract. From left: Victor Jaoko (PhD student), Purity Muli (MSc student), Prof Guy Smagghe (Ghent University), Florence Olubayo (Nairobi University).