Agroforestry is basically practicing agriculture incorporating the planting of trees,` GMEI is borrowing a leave from one of its community coordinator who started practicing Agroforestry in the year 2014. He wanted to set an example of how land could be utilized besides growing crops. He planted 5 acres of land with Pine tree seedlings. He bought a total of 10,000 tree seedlings..
This intentional combination of agriculture and forestry has varied benefits, including increased biodiversity and reduced erosion. Integrating tree species like Grevelia, Casaurina and Pine in farms will improve the moisture and humus content of the soil. Casaurina is a good wind breaker for Avocado and Tree Tomato farming that is gaining acceptance in the area. This will also produce adaptive benefits like water availability, attracting pollinators and improving biodiversity. This eventually will lead to Apiculture which will be an added source of income. GMEI will work closely with the Kenya Forest Services (KFS) in the selection of species so that plants will not compete but collaborate
• Control of runoff and soil erosion, thereby reducing losses of water, soil material, organic matter and nutrients
• The decomposition of tree and pruning can substantially contribute to maintenance of soil fertility
• Agro forestry can provide a more diverse farm economy and stimulate the whole rural economy, leading to more stable farms and communities. Economics risks are reduced when systems produce multiple products
• They can be employed to reclaim eroded and degraded land
Before Kenya’s independence in 1964, Mua Hills was undoubtedly a land exceptionally good with a sufficiency of water. The area has 7 boreholes dug during the colonial era. When the indigenous community took occupancy of the land, the boreholes were functional for a short while. With time, the pipes have been vandalized; other pipes have been destroyed during road constructions and the storage tanks too old and some leak. In Mua hills, there are no rivers and groundwater makes its way to the earth’s surface and emerges as small water holes as springs.
With the reduction of the forest cover, ground water retention has been affected and this is evidenced by the drying up of springs and persistent drought spells, in a region that is 1844m above sea level. It is common to see women and children trekking for long distances to fetch water. As a result a lot of time is spent by women and children looking for water. It is estimated that women and children in rural Kenya walk on average 6 kilometres and spend more than 6 hours/day collecting water. The reduction in the burden of water collection will allow the local community to invest time to improve their farms and plant trees, thus dramatically increasing crop yields and further reinforcing the effectiveness of water catchments.
In contrast to surface water, the groundwater is of higher water quality
Climate change is intensifying the global water cycle and exposing large segments of the world’s population to significant water-related hazards. These are expected to increase in severity over time. Floods and droughts are becoming more frequent and severe. Rainfall patterns are more unpredictable and sea levels are rising. These changes not only threaten the ecosystem and livelihoods of people – particularly the poorest and most vulnerable – they also pose a major impediment to economic and social development. SDG 6 seeks to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
The Mua Hills has experienced soil erosion as a result of reduction of tree cover since 1964 when the land changed hands from the settlers to the indigenous people. Gullies are a common sight and an effective way to rehabilitate them is by growing Bamboo trees. This is in support of the 2021-2030 UN declaration as the UN Decade on ecosystem restoration in an effort to reverse centuries of damages to forests, wetlands and other ecosystems. So far 1500 bamboo seedlings piloted.
They grow very fast, are utilizable and regenerate very fast. It is a good source of charcoal which can help in reducing the cutting of trees for firewood and other uses. Within 3 years, the community will start harvesting the bamboo hence a new source of income. Bamboo has lots of value and a semi-processing plant will a sure way of creating employment for the youth and women. It can replace poor performing crops like maize grown in the area.
World Environment Day 2021 Theme: