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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Tea tree stakeholders hold training for farmers

By Teresa W. Ndirangu
The Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN), and Earth Oil Extract Company organized a training for 98 tea tree farmers. The training on organic Tea Tree was organized for farmers in different regions of Laikipia County from 20th to 22nd August 2014.
Farmers training at Earth Oil Hall
The training which was facilitated by six (6) Earth Oil Extract Company and one (1) KOAN staff member, provided the farmers with an opportunity to learn about various issues that included; Improving farmers skills and understanding of organic Tea Tree production, benefits of both organic and fair trade, organic standard, certification process, environmental protection required and sanctions faced by farmers who violate the standards.

The expansion of Tea Tree production in Laikipia County is being supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grant Project (SGP) through a two (2) year grant project.
KOAN and Earth Oil Extract Company intend to mobilize, recruit and train 500 farmers to grow organic Tea Tree by end of 2015. Already 180 farmers have been recruited in the project.
The training was organized in three clusters with Timau region occurring on 20th August 2014, Marura region training took place on 21st August 2014 at Irura Primary School while Huku, Mwireri and Gatuanugi region training took place at Earth Oil Hall on 22nd August 2014. A total of 98 farmers were trained with men being 51 while women were 47.
Farmers following proceedings during Marura training
Earth Oil Extract Company works directly with farmers by providing them with extension services, internal inspections and other advisory services. The company undertook the mobilization and recruitment of the new farmers in the months of June, July and early August of this year.
KOAN on the other hand gave technical support to Earth Oil extension staff especially on organic production, standards and certification among others.
The trained farmers were given small boxes for safe chemical storage and organic sorghum seeds to be planted as buffer to protect chemical drift in the Tea Tree plots.
You can contact Teresia Wairimu for more information about Tea Tree through teresan@koan.co.ke.
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