A Letter From South-West Kenya
“The project being proposed aims to address Pupil’s livelihood needs for income generation, fuelwood, timber, fruit, fodder and other non-timber forest products while halting and reversing the trend of the forest loss and related environmental degradation…through promoting vegetable and fruit tree growing and agro-forestry systems.
The long-term mission is: “planting fruit trees for healthier populations and better environment”.
The medium-term development goal of the project is to enhance the ability of pupils’ to increase and sustain agricultural production for improved food security, nutrition and income generation while at the same time safeguarding the environment by adopting sustainable agricultural practices and appropriate technologies. This will be achieved through fostering increased fruit and vegetable growing (including fruit tree and tree planting) production for enhanced food self-sufficiency and increased income generation for the school and enhancing the ability to conserve and protect the environment.
The project will encourage and transform the school into economically viable agro-businesses including: market-vegetable gardening, and others.
The project will also ensure sustainable agricultural production and safeguard the environment thus pupils completing primary eight will be job creators not seekers.
The specific objectives of the project are:
(i) To assist the 700 pupils, particularly from poor and disadvantaged families, to engage in fruit and tree growing and increase vegetable crop production for improved food security and income generation for the school thus enabling the school to meet the costs of other educational needs such as money for tests ,Lunch for both pupils and teachers, among others.
ii) To promote awareness among the learners of the value and importance of planting trees(including fruit tree and tree lots) for different purposes; how to raise and tend tree seedlings and ways of integrating trees into farming systems through the production and dissemination of public awareness materials.
iii) To enhance capacity of farming households to apply appropriate technologies and sustainable farming practices (including: composting, soil and water conservation, integrated pest management, environmentally sustainable application of agrochemicals, etc) through awareness and training workshops, information dissemination and extension services.
Iv) To mobilize and assist the project beneficiaries to organize themselves into Farmers’ groups and a Community Association to manage and sustain the activities initiated under the project and take advantage of the economies of scale in purchase of farm inputs; processing, transportation and marketing of agricultural produce; increase their market share and facilitate better access to credit and other financial services.
Among other activities, the project will:
- Facilitate access to improved seeds and seedlings including fruit tree seedlings.
- Facilitate access to agricultural inputs (including fertilizers, pesticides and farm tools).
- Promote the adoption of modern agricultural technologies by our pupils and teachers.
- Organize workshops and other training activities (farm visits, study tours and dissemination of information and technical training materials) on appropriate sustainable farming practices, including: soil and water conservation, integrated fertility management, composting, sylvopastoral systems and integrated pest management).
- Offer on-farm extension support and advisory services, upon request.
- Train, equip and deploy five local agricultural extension workers/ animators (change agents).
- Foster competitive marketing of locally produced agricultural products (including through training in harvest and post-harvest handling and quality control skills and technologies).
- Facilitate young farmers access to relevant information, including market prices and credit opportunities.
- Facilitate the establishment of young farmer producers and marketing groups.
The project is expected to improve the livelihoods of the beneficiary young farmers in the project area through enhanced domestic food self-sufficiency, improved nutrition and increased school incomes from the sale of the agricultural products. It is hoped that the project will serve as a model and that a follow-up project will be developed, building on the experience, best practices and lessons learned from this project.
The lead implementing partners will be responsible for assisting the participating beneficiaries to identify and purchase, at their cost the desired farm inputs and equipment such as farm ploughs, spray pumps, wheelbarrows, and refrigerators among others. They will also organise all the training activities, procure the training materials, mobilise the resource persons, organise the study tours and offer extension services upon request.
The project management team will adopt a school/community-based, demand-driven approach where school/community members will be involved in all stages of the project from planning through choosing crops to grow and trees to plant; and, become fully responsible for operation and maintenance (O&M) of their undertakings. The project will assist the groups/ associations to, among other things: (1) establish management structures for the association; (2) define the responsibilities of the different stakeholders, (3) open bank account; and (4) raise awareness among members and clarify goals, objectives and activities of the associations and benefits of becoming members.
10,000 trees will be planted, 7000 will be purchased while 3000 will be regenerated.
What types of trees will be planted?:
silky oak(Grevillea robusta) Casuarinaequisetifolia (whistling pine) avocado Jacaranda mimosifolia Grafted Mango (Mangifera indica) Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens African Olive (aka Olea africana) Fever Tree (aka Acacai xanthopholea) Fountain Tree (aka Spathodea companulata) Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) Pear Tree (disambiguation) white sapote Casimiroa edulis”