Farmers see promise and profit for agroforestry in southern Kenya

In Kenya’s Rift Valley, rural communities are implementing agroforestry to boost incomes and forest cover. Native plants like enset, a type of wild banana, and trees are being cultivated in combination with crops, which benefit each other and provide a diversity of produce. “Farmers are looking for new ways to widen their farm revenue as food markets become unpredictable. They are finding these answers in agroforestry,” says an official with the Kenya Forestry Service. Agroforestry is also a main facet of Kenya’s goal to reduce carbon emissions under the Paris climate treaty, since it sequesters a large amount of carbon in woody plants both above and below ground. KERITA, Kenya — It is high noon at Samuel Rono’s farm in Kerita village in southern Kenya, but the cool breeze blowing through gives visitors a sense of nature’s comfort. Even the six youthful workers helping the 67-year-old tend his quarter-acre (1,000-square-meter) tree nursery seem to be enjoying their tasks as a flock of weaver birds cheer from above. They are nursing a variety of young indigenous tree and plant species including African cherry ( Prunus africana ), Cordia Africana (a flowering tree in the borage family), Mzambalao tree (in the […]

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