• May 23, 2024
  • Last Update May 23, 2024 12:57 AM
  • Nairobi

Farmers challenged to grow trees for improved crop production

Farmers challenged to grow trees for improved crop production

By Peter Ochieng

Farmers have been challenged of the need to plant and grow trees in a bid to improve agricultural productivity.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), forests and trees make an essential contribution to food security by helping to maintain the environmental conditions needed for agricultural production.

Speaking in Bondo, Siaya county during the National Tree Growing Day on Friday, Bernard Kibet, country lead, tree planting program at Tupande by One Care Fund said they collaborate with famers across the country, to instill the culture of tree planting, not only as a measure against climate change, but also as a food productivity ingredient.

“This is a very big day for us here at Tupande because this is the season where we are planting trees. We have really a huge target of getting most the seedlings that we have in our nurseries to clients,” he said.

Trees protect soil from erosion, increase aeration and water infiltration, while adding nutrients to the soil, and moderate air and soil temperatures.

Resaerch shows that soils with higher organic matter content supplied by trees, reduce the need for the use of fertilizers to produce crops.  

One Acre Fund is collaborating with smallholder farmers in its tree planting initiative, because they are stewards of most of the nation’s land.

Kibet stated that they have 330 tree nurseries across the country, with 28 tree varieties. As part of the National Tree Growing exercise, he said they distributed over 10 million tree seedlings, averaging 50, 000 per nursery.

Kibet said any farmer who visited their nurseries to buy a seedling received 25 seedlings free of charge, while those contracted by the organization received 50.

In Siaya county, over 600,000 tree seedlings were distributed and planted. Irene Omondi who is a tree seedlings farmer in Bondo said after he signed a contract with Tupande by One Acre Fund received training, planting bags, fertilizer and seeds.

About 80% of Kenyans derive their livelihoods from agriculture, and most are smallholders who produce crops for their household food supplies.

In addition to helping mitigate climate change, trees have many practical advantages for farmers.

Certain varieties, such as grevillea, can benefit the soil when grown alongside staple food crops, and the wood can be a source of income if farmers cut and replant their trees after a few years.

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