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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Ng’arua Maarifa plays host to World Bank consultant

By Bob Aston
 The Ng’arua Maarifa Centre which is located in Sipili area of Laikipia West, on November 27, 2014 played host to Mr. David Campbell, a World Bank Consultant and also the Managing Director of Media for Communication and Development (Mediae) and Mr. Richard Githaiga, Head of extension management at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock.
Mr. Campbell and Mr. Githaiga with some of the Maarifa beneficiaries

 The two had heard about Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) and Ng’arua Maarifa Centre and were interested in seeing and confirming for themselves what they had been told. They met ALIN official as well as some few beneficiaries of the Centre and an extension officer with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.

They were particularly interested in learning how the Maarifa has assisted farmers in accessing knowledge and whether the knowledge has helped to improve their livelihood.
They were informed that the Maarifa Centre serves an average of 26,000 people per year through provision of various services that include; Library services, internet access, advisory services, online market information, SOKO+, Farm Records Management Information System (FARMIS), E-Government services, ICT Training, Citizen Journalism Training, Multimedia content, publications like Joto Africa and Baobab and knowledge sharing on Natural Resources Management (NRM) and Sustainable Land Management (SLM).
During the discussions the beneficiaries learned that Mediae of which Mr. Campbell is the managing Director has been producing Shamba Shape Up which is usually being aired on Citizen TV on Saturday and Sunday between 1:30 pm to 2:00 pm.
Shamba Shape Up show aims to give both farmer and audience the tools they need to improve productivity and income on their farms. The TV show tackles issues surrounding livestock, poultry, crops and soil fertility.
Mr. Campbell with one of the Maarifa beneficiaries
Some of the Maarifa beneficiaries have been watching the program and they have even been getting Shamba Shape Up publications.
Mr. Githaiga noted the importance of ICT in service delivery. He said that the Ministry through e-extension services equipped some extension officers with laptop computers, modem and smart phones in order to reach more farmers with extension services.
He said that the high costs involved in visiting farmers encouraged them to establish an e-extension. He noted that they have developed an e-extension program that incorporates the web 2.0 concept. 

He noted that communicating with farmers through text messages is easier as it can reach a large number of farmers. He promised to link the Maarifa Centre with Access Agriculture so that farmers can be able to access agricultural DVDs at the centre.
“We are building the capacity of extension officers to be able to deliver services through ICT. We thought we could leverage on ICT to help in delivering of services,” said Mr. Githaiga.
He urged the Maarifa to make use of the National Farmer Information Service portal (NAFIS) in getting information about farming which can be useful to the community.

The fate of Kenyans

By Murigi Ndung’u
As Kenyans celebrate their freedom from the colonizers, the real masterminds of the ideological capitalism, the true value of the same has not been achieved. As a matter of fact, the frenzy of the Africans inability to utilize their freedom is one big quagmire. The reality dawns now as they discover that neo-colonialism has already set in, nay set in with the greatest significance.
Poverty drives people to fight for the stomach rights, but quite logically as presented by the legal affairs; an agreement is reached, archetypal to modus Vivendi. The agreement mostly entails the fight for ‘justice’ that is not occasioned by carrying of jembes and forks but the carrying of machetes and guns, and bayonets.
The killings experienced in the Kenyan territory are not a new idea, it is a mine. A mine to harvest and discover the hidden goodness of the territory whereas the big guns are busy exploiting what the good is found in the nation. It is a puzzle that most countries endowed with minerals and other goodies are always unstable, the irony of richness of the country.
When people are poor, they are in the fight for ‘justice’ and when wealth sets in there is again fight for ‘justice’. The class differentiation intoned by the difference actuated by the petit bourgeoisie, and the lower proletariat has a bigger say in the matters of the country.
The rich countries will work day and night to bring the efforts of the ‘third world countries’ to a naught, so that continued dependence may be the oversight of power. Africa is not poor; the inhabitants are the ones who are poor, courtesy of the west.
Since Kenya discovered petroleum, instability has been the order of the day, and ethnicity is blamed and called into judgment, and the whole world sings of how Kenya is rife with tribalism and disquiet.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Medicinal Tea Tree changing farmers’ lives in Nanyuki

By Noah Lusaka
The trip to Nanyuki from Nyahururu took us about two hours. I was part of a group that participated in an exchange visit to learn more about growing tea tree. As we approached the lush green patch neighbouring Mr. Joseph King’ori’s dairy shed, we could see beautiful green shrubs waving about in rhythm with the light wind that was blowing.
 I was convinced they were young Eucalyptus trees commonly grown in many parts of Kenya only to learn from our host that it was another type of tree.
Tea Tree after 15 months after planting
“This is my tree tea crop,” Mr. King’ori announced as the group stood on the edges of the tea tree plot. He explained that he was introduced to tea tree farming by officials of the Earth Oil and Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN).

The Many uses of Tea Tree        
According to the popular website known as Web MD, tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) has been used traditionally as a tropical antiseptic and antifungal treatment. Additional uses include treating skin infections and warts among more than 20 others.
In the outskirts of Nanyuki, farmers have reported to make more than Khs. 75,000.00 from an acre of tea tree. This income is much higher compared to what they obtain from growing maize or beans.
Challenges of growing tea tree
High evaporation rate of the Tea tree’s essential products restricts distances between farms and the factory to only 25 kilometres. Farmers living further than that cannot grow the crop. Another challenge is the fact that many women farmers are unable to grow the tree because they do not own or have legal authority of the farms they occupy.
A programme has been initiated by KOAN to sensitise men on the need to give legal rights to their wives when they chose to get into tea tree farming.
Facts about growing tea tree
The KOAN project and Earth oil Company is currently working with 460 farmers within Laikipia County spread in Huku, Mwireri, Mwiriti, Burguret, and Gatuanyaga (Matanya, Sweet water, Marura and Ndurukuma are the new areas where expansion is being done) to organically grow the tea tree.
Cattle in a Tea Tree farm
Tea tree is more resilient to effects of climate change and performs well in extremely harsh dry weather conditions. Tea Tree matures within 15 to 18 months after establishment and is harvested twice per year under good management.
The tree requires low labour inputs and less field management since it’s not affected by pests and diseases and is not eaten by domestic animals. Tea tree can only be intercropped with desmodium to enhance soil fertility but not any other crop to prevent contamination
During harvesting time, the whole stem is cut down around 15cm-20cm above the ground at an angle using bending saw. The central stem is then removed. Branches and leaves are then sold for oil extraction. After some time, new shoots will emerge from where the tree was cut. All the shoots are left to grow, and the farmer is advised to cut them back after 6 months. This is a continuing cycle and Tea Tree is expected to be highly productive for 25 years under good management.
Earth Oil Extract Company Limited has a factory at Nanyuki. They signed a contract with the farmers in order to buy all the biomass of Tea Tree. They extract the oil, bulk and export to United Kingdom (UK) to a company called Body Shop. Three thousand (3000) tea trees can be planted in a quarter acre of land yielding four kilos per tree per season and can be sold at Ksh10.50 per Kilo.
Noah Lusaka is Projects Manager at ALIN, he can be reached through:
Original source: Laikipia Maliasili

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The impact of knowledge access at Ng'arua Maarifa centre

By Bob Aston
The Ng’arua Maarifa centre played host to an official of Institute of Development Studies (IDS) on November 25, 2014. The field visit enabled Mr. Jon Gregson to interact with some of the Maarifa centre beneficiaries and also to learn how knowledge access at the Maarifa centre has helped community members. He was accompanied by Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) project officer Miss Esther Lung’ahi.
Mr. Gregson was particularly interested in learning how knowledge access from the Maarifa Centre has helped to address community local issues. He was informed that the Maarifa Centre serves an average of 26,000 people per year through provision of various services that include; Library services, internet access, advisory services, online market information, SOKO+, Farm Records Management Information System (FARMIS), E-Government services, ICT Training, Citizen Journalism Training, Multimedia content, publications like Joto Africa and Baobab and knowledge sharing on Natural Resources Management (NRM) and Sustainable Land Management (SLM).
Mr. Gregson interviewing ALIN's Miss Esther Lung'ahi

 Mr. Samuel Nyaga narrated how he was trained on ICT skills at the Maarifa centre and how the knowledge that he got has helped him in accessing information at the Centre. He said that the Joto Africa publication helped him to learn a lot about climate change and as a result of that he is now using custor oil burner to mitigate against the effects of climate change.

“I was also able to learn about Stevia and chick peas by using internet at the Maarifa Centre. This resulted in me being linked with Pure Circle Kenya Ltd and a professor from Egerton University. I have now planted both crops,” said Mr. Nyaga.
Similarly, Mr. Victor Gachigi narrated how the information that he has been receiving at the Maarifa Centre has helped him as a farmer and in broadening his skills in card design and drawing. He said that he is currently doing an online study at the Maarifa centre on canvas painting which he expects will improve his knowledge once he clears the course.
Mr. Gachigi also touched on Sokopepe trainings which he has received at the Maarifa centre. He said that he has been getting market information and he is also able to use SOKO+ sms query services to inquire about market prices and look for farming tips.
Mrs. Veronica Kemunto talked about the challenges that most farmers used to face before ALIN initiated the formation of Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society. She said that the formation of the co-operative has been a blessing to most farmers in the area and they now intend to expand and serve the whole of Laikipia County.
” We used to have a big problem with access to certified seeds, fertilizer and lack of market. Most of the times our yields used to be very low yet we were still being exploited by middlemen. The cooperative and Sokopepe has now addressed this challenges,” said Mrs. Kemunto.
She said that through various trainings organized by the ALIN and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries they have been able to improve their farming activities and have also been able to learn about the importance of soil analysis. Most of the cooperative members were also able to have their soil analysed.
She noted that the demonstration farms established by ALIN, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries together with Kenya Seed Company Ltd also provided an opportunity for farmers to learn about good agricultural practices.
Mr. Gregson being shown tangerine by Mr. Kiarahu
The visit culminated in a field visit at Mr. Francis Kiarahu’s farm, a long time user of the Maarifa Centre. This was preceded by as short visit to the office and store of Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society.
Mr. Kiarahu showed the visitor how he has been applying the knowledge that he has been receiving to improve his farm. He said that the effect of climate change has not affected him much as he has planted drought resistant crops.
He showed Mr. Gregson his FARMIS-Kenya farm book and how he has been filling the book. He noted that the various field days, open days and seminars organized by ALIN has helped him to acquire invaluable knowledge and as a result he has also been able to share knowledge with other farmers and as well as training more than 400 farmers on what he has been learning
The IDS Knowledge Services has been supporting the production of Joto Afrika by ALIN up to 2011. Joto Afrika, meaning “Africa is feeling the heat’ in Kiswahili is a series of printed briefings and online resources about adapting to climate change in sub- Saharan Africa. The series helps people understand the issues, constrains and opportunities that poor people face in adapting to climate change and escaping poverty.

Meru County department of agriculture hosts KFIE Technical Team

By Martin Murangiri
The Kenya Feed the Future Innovation Engine (KFIE) on November 20, 2014 held a meeting with Meru County department of Agriculture to inform the county government about the various projects that it is overseeing in the county. The meeting which was attended by among others Meru County Deputy Agriculture officer and KFIE head of Monitoring and Evaluation also served as a platform for introducing innovation groups to the County government.
Deputy County Director of Agriculture Mr. Kaburu represented the County Executive for Agriculture while Prof. Mutuku Kavoi, KFIE head of Monitoring and Evaluation, Mrs. Susan Nkirote and Mr. Victor Kimathi Mirori represented KFIE.
The innovation groups present during the meeting included; Lachlan, Real IPM, Quest Agriculture and Farm Records Management Information System (FARMIS-Kenya)
Real IPM in partnership with the University of Nairobi is developing a biological control of fruit flies in mangoes. The project is being undertaken in two farms in South Imenti. Lachlan has come up with a technology dubbed “Viazi power” that aims to increase potato production among small scale farmers.
Quest Agriculture has come up with an innovation that is helping farmers test and get their soil composition results within thirty five minutes. Initially farmers used to get their soil composition results after three months. They are using a portable kit which is carried to the farm when doing the testing.
Farmer in Laikipia County being shown how FARMIS works
FARMIS-Kenya is an innovation that helps farmers acquire new management skills in their farms. It is a farm management and diagnostic tool based on the use of farm records aimed at identifying productivity trends, profitability of different farm enterprises and producing evidence for use in decision making at the farm, County and National levels.
FARMIS-Kenya has Production Information Agents (PIAs) who have been provided with smart phones for digitizing farmer’s records. The PIAs goes round the farmers’ farm helping them to keep records of the expenses they have incurred on their farms as well as the crop enterprises. All these data is entered in the Farm Book which is also saved in a web site that is supported by a powerful and secure server.
By the end of the season the farmer is given a statement outlining the margin losses and profits he/she has made on the farm. With this, the farmer is able to make decision on the crop enterprise to concentrate on. Also, the farmer is advised on where to improve on his/her farm.
FARMIS-Kenya is operating in South Imenti, North Imenti, Central Imenti, Buuri and some part of Tigania in Meru County.
The KFIE is an initiative of Land O’ Lakes which it manages on behalf of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Innovations represented are helping farmers in terms of improving production, reducing the cost of production through coming up with means of curbing crop diseases, market linkages and new management skills.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Earthoil staff capacity built on Internal Control System (ICS)

By Teresa Ndirangu
The Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN) through support from the United Nations Development Program Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program (UNDP GEF SGP) organized a one (1) day training on Internal Control System (ICS) on October 17, 2014 at Old House Nanyuki, Laikipia County for seven (five male and two female) staff members of Earthoil Company Ltd.
Earthoil Company Limited works with smallholder farmers in Nanyuki. They promote production of organic Tea Tree by contracting farmers. The organization staff members are required by Organic Standard to be trained annually on issues concerning organic certification.
Mr. Jack Juma and Mrs. Teresa Ndirangu from KOAN took the Earthoil staff members through different areas that need critical attention for organic certification. Some of the areas covered included; documentation needed in each farmers file and how it should be organized, planning for inspections especially when starting a new round of inspections, documents to bring for inspections and informing farmers of inspection.
Other issues covered included; inspecting mostly non compliant farmers, sanctions to give, tips for an effective internal inspection and documents to fill or update during and after inspection.
They were also trained on how they can plan for extension visits, purpose of extension visits, what to do during such visits and the duration that it should take to come up with inspection documents. They were also taken through buffer-zone around organic plots, what other projects do and the easy way to fulfill such requirements.
Earthoil staff members noted after the training on the need to improve on farm diaries to farmers’ record keeping.
Some of the issues agreed upon after the capacity building training included; starting random inspections by the manager, consolidation of internal inspection days so as to increase number of extension days, Integrating gender issues in the day to day work of the organization, properly planning for last internal inspections after knowing when the external inspection will take place, to standardize about the buffer zones and to be inviting KOAN during audit times as observers.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Empowering women through GROOTS Kenya

By Bob Aston
Women empowerment has been cited as one of the ways of uplifting the livelihood of most families in Kenya. Ensuring that grassroots women are fully involved in development processes and decision making can play a big role in promoting women leadership in the country.
The lack of visibility of grassroots women in decision making processes that directly affect their lives and their communities led to the formation of Grassroots Organizations Operating Together in Sisterhood (GROOTS International). The organization which was founded in 1995 after the fourth UN conference on women in Beijing China seeks to give voice and power to grassroots women’s local visions and initiatives.
Mrs. Margaret Mwangi, GROOTS Kenya, Laikipia West sub county coordinator said that they work to develop poor rural and urban communities and empower women through valuing their work and creating opportunities for them. She said that they do this by focusing attention on the work and expertise of grassroots women through peer learning processes.
She said that their main goals include; strengthening women’s participation in the development of communities, supporting urban and rural grassroots women’s groups to identify and share their successful practices, focusing international attention on grassroots women’s needs and abilities and increasing the opportunities for grassroots women’s groups to network directly across countries.
“We are striving to build the capacity of grassroots women to take leadership roles in their communities. This is accomplished through advocacy, trainings and mentorship, “said Mrs. Mwangi.
GROOTS Kenya advances the knowledge of grassroots women and champions them as experts in order to influence policies and programs related to community development to engage grassroots women in decision making processes.
She said that GROOTS Kenya also provides as many opportunities as possible for women and girls to experience and participate in national and international forums on topics and issues that directly affect their lives.
“We are trying to ensure that grassroots women are masters of their own destiny through their direct participation in decision making processes,” said Mrs. Mwangi.
GROOTS Kenya currently has a membership of over 2,000 community based organizations and self help groups that are working to ensure that grassroots women are at the forefront of community change.
 She said that they are currently in the process of developing a County newsletter in Kakamega, Laikipia and Kiambu to celebrate, showcase, track and inspire other grassroots women to organize around the transformational development agenda.
“We are going to work with selected champions to document inspirational stories that have resulted from their work since 2008. This will be an opportunity for the selected champions to be trained on how to write professionally and also to celebrate their work,” said Mrs. Mwangi.
She said that grassroots champions are proving their capacity to serve as knowledgeable resources in their communities through the various projects that they are undertaking. She said that relationships within GROOTS Kenya provide women leaders with an opportunity to learn and share information pertinent to their work.

Monday, 24 November 2014

The importance of biodiversity conservation

Source: Laikipia Mali Asili
The more types of plant and animals present in the environment, the healthier that environment is for both human and animal populations. The variety of animal and plant types, which is referred to as biodiversity, is reduced when conditions develop that make it impossible for some species to survive. Such conditions can be created by excessive use of chemicals aimed at killing weeds or pests, which also end up killing species that are beneficial to human beings, animals and agricultural crops.
These beneficial species include bees, butterflies, moths and other pollinators. Within Laikipia County, there are a number of Projects focusing on promotion of biodiversity in different ways.
Section of rehabilitated forest in Laikipia
Maintaining high levels of biodiversity has many benefits. For example, elimination of harmful chemicals results in increase of pollinators such as bees and other useful insects. This enables more people to get involved in activities relying on some of them such as bee keeping (apiary) for income. The quality of trees and other vegetation also improves because pollination ensures the production of better adapted varieties of plants.
It is important to note that biodiversity refers not only to plants and animals available in our surroundings but also organisms that live in the soil such as earthworms and even micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi. These microbes aid in the decomposition of plant materials to release useful nutrients for plants.
Another factor that is threatening biodiversity is climate change. Climate change is the significant change of the average temperatures over period longer than 30 years, causing changes in weather patterns and a (slow) rise in sea level, among other impacts. According to the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP), key climate change impacts for Kenya are drought and water scarcity, flooding and sea-level rise.
Research suggests that temperatures will continue to increase, and the frequency of hot days and nights will rise. Precipitation is expected to increase in some areas, with the largest rise in rainfall occurring in the highland and coastal regions.
However, the greater part of the country comprising the arid and semi-arid regions is expected to become significantly drier. When climate patterns change, it is expected that plants and animals species which only survives on cooler regions will disappear while new species suited to warmer climates will replace them.
Laikipia Mali Asili is a voice for people promoting sustainable land management practices in Laikipia County. You can download a copy of Laikipia Mali Asili newsletter here

Friday, 21 November 2014

Matwiku Horticulture Group trained on Climate Smart Agriculture

By Noah Lusaka and Bob Aston
The Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) in collaboration with SunCulture Company trained Matwiku farmers on installation and management of a drip irrigation system as a practice that enhances climate smart agriculture. The project that is funded by Act Change Transform (Act!)  aims to strengthen communities’ resilience to impacts of climate change while conserving natural resources in Laikipia County.
The members laying out the water piping system
Climate smart agriculture entails reducing emissions at the farm level, conserving natural resources like soils and water while increasing nutritious food production at household level and at the same time increasing family incomes.
The unique project is implemented by Matwiku Horticulture Growers self help group in Ng’arua, Lakipia West. The group was formed in January 2014 to champion the interests of farmers in Matwiku village. The group comprises 22 members, nineteen male and three female.
The members of the group attended a five (5) days capacity building training on climate smart agriculture, drip irrigation installation and water harvesting technologies from 14th to 18th November 2014.
The group availed a one acre piece of land for setting up the demonstration where they plan to plant tomatoes and capsicum.
The training process
Twenty seven (27) participants attended the five days training on installation of drip irrigation and management of the system. The process involved erecting a water tank stand with an elevation of three (3) metres above the ground. This will ensure there is enough pressure for water to irrigate one acre. The project procured a water tank for the group with capacity of 5000 litres. Using the drip irrigation system, less water is used per acre since the water targets the root zone of the crops.
The participants were trained on setting up the system that involved digging trenches to lay out the water piping system. The one acre farm was subdivided into 8 smaller plots and each plot installed with a gate valve for controlling water during irrigation.
 The drip irrigation tapes were then connected to the water pipes and laid throughout the one acre piece of land where one raised bed had two drip tapes. The final stage involved mounting the water storage tank to the stand and connecting the water supply system.
The members connecting drip tapes
To ensure that the drip tapes do not clog, a water filter was fixed at the tank outlet. The participants learned that it is important to check and clean the filter regularly to ensure smooth water supply to the farm. To test the drip irrigation system, the storage tank was filled with water and each of the eight farm units opened at intervals for water to drip and wet the soil. The participants learned that the crops have to be planted at the wetted spots.
The Many benefits of drip irrigation
The participants learned the many benefits of using drip irrigation that includes; reduced work load in the farm, conservation of water resources, minimal soil erosion, ability to use liquid manures, uniformity in crops grown, energy conservation and reduction of emissions since less fuel is used, leaching and nutrients loss is reduced and fewer weeds.

Farmer Experiences with other irrigation systems
Furrow and basin irrigation are two of the most widely used types of irrigation in Matwiku prior to introduction of drip irrigation.
Raphael Wa Mutito, 18 years old who attended the five (5) days capacity building training, narrated how they usually spend six (6) to eight (8) hours irrigating a one (1) acre piece of land using  furrow irrigation. The water source is a natural pond about 20 metres away from the farm.
He said that they usually spend at least six (6) litres of petrol to pump water for irrigating one acre.  A litre of petrol costs Ksh 108/= in the area, therefore farmers incur a cost of ksh 648/= every time they irrigate. Most farmers irrigate their farms twice per week therefore spending Ksh 1,296/= . After three months when they harvest horticulture products they usually spend over Ksh 15,552/= on fuel for irrigation alone.
Members preparing to place the water tank on the erected water tank stand

Raphael was particularly impressed with the duration that it will take to irrigate land under drip irrigation. He learned that with drip irrigation system, a farmer will spend less than one (1) hour irrigating one acre piece of land and use 0.5 litres of fuel to fill the 5000 litre water tank.

The 6 litres that they are currently spending per day can now be used to pump 60,000 litres of water. This signifies a drastic reduction in fuel costs and in the long run a reduction of emissions.
“I am now able to train other farmers on drip irrigation installation. The training has really benefited me. I hope that soon I will be able to buy my own drip irrigation kit,” said Raphael.
Matwiku group’s vision

Mr. Peter Gicheru, Secretary, Matwiku Horticulture Growers Self Help Group said that the drip irrigation will help the group minimize the time that they take to irrigate their farms.

 “We hope that our revolving fund will go faster so that we can install drip irrigation for all members of the group. Members are really excited with this project. We expect that other farmers will also be able to benefit from what we have learned,” said Gicheru.

The drip irrigation system makes it cheaper and easier for farmers to grow crops throughout the year without feeling the burden of climate change. The participants appreciated the system noting that the system is efficient and will enable them undertake other productive activities off the farm. They will be able to produce food throughout the year without relying on rainfall.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Conserving Laikipia’s Landscapes

By Anthony Mugo
The Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) is pleased to present the first issue of Laikipia Mali Asili newsletter. Contributors to this Newsletter are mainly partners working in Laikipia County under a project sponsored by United Nations Development Program under its Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program (UNDP GEF SGP).
Production of the newsletter is coordinated by ALIN. One of the key approaches being used to conserve biodiversity in Laikipia County is to promote the cultivation of forest trees that bear useful products for humans and animals.
One such tree is Tea tree, whose production is being promoted by the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN) within the environs of Nanyuki Municipality. Noah Lusaka’s feature on this subject sheds light on Tea tree cultivation.
In this inaugural issue of Laikipia Mali Asili, we have carried brief reports about organizations working in partnership with UNDP GEF SGP and the main activities in which they are engaged. Laikipia Mali Asili will be one of the main platforms through which these projects will be sharing information and learning.
For the children, a Children’s Corner has been set aside. Read powerful poems and other contributions by children who have shown amazing commitment towards caring for the environment.  We welcome your feedback in form of Letters to the Editor.
The next issue of Laikipia Mali Asili will focus on the theme Water Resources and Sustainable Land Management. Degradation of the environment particularly deforestation leads to destruction of water catchment sites.
Laikipia Mali Asili welcomes articles on this topic and other material such as cartoons, puzzles, crosswords, poems and jokes. Articles should be no more than 600 words. They should be accompanied by good pictures of at least 3 MB in Jpeg format and with descriptive captions. Send contributions to and copy to
You can download a copy of Laikipia Mali Asili here.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Njorua groups receive carbon credit money from TIST

By James Mwangi
The international small group tree planting program (TIST) on November 12, 2014 disbursed carbon credit payment vouchers to Njorua cluster members at Kiwanja Primary School, Laikipia West. The ceremony which was graced by TIST quantifier, TIST Trainer as well as Njorua cluster leaders saw more than eighty thousand shillings (Ksh 80,000) disbursed to various groups.
Speaking during the function, Mr. David Thuku, TIST quantifier, reminded the Njorua cluster members that they should always note their group name and TIST number. He said that groups must always be represented by at least three members and each group must have a permanent Safaricom number upon which payments are to be made.
TIST Njorua cluster members during the meeting
“All TIST members should attend all the meetings held every month for training. It is also necessary that each group attains a minimum of 5000 trees planted at a spacing of 2m by 2m,” said Mr. Joseph Muthee, TIST trainer.
Carbon credit policy works on paying farmers for the seedlings they have planted. The farmers are expected to have formed a group and dully registered with TIST International.
Disbursement of carbon credit money is normally done on a quarterly basis and is disbursed through Safaricom M-Pesa money transfer. Later members receive their dues as tabulated in the voucher breakdown.
After verification and quantification of the group member’s trees they were then issued with sharing forms that were to guide them on how the payments were to be shared among the group members.
“If you encourage more people to join TIST, then you will have enough number of groups to form a cluster thus TIST services such as tree counting will be closer to you,” said Mr. Thuku.
Mr. Wilson Kinyanjui, Chairman TIST Njorua cluster, reminded the members of the need to have Githiga ward membership card. He said that they intend to help patients suffering from diabetes, arthritis and hypertension get medication at subsidized charges.
“Many people are at home suffering because they cannot afford to buy medicine. But if we come together as a group we will be able to get help from well wishers and also the government,” said Mr. Kinyanjui.
Cluster members were also reminded of their Merry-go-round initiative. Members are to contribute by paying fifty shillings (Ksh 50) upon which they then vote and each winner is issued with Ksh 400.
“The main aim of the merry-go-round is to bring TIST members together. This is because there are many issues which affect our daily lives and they would be easy to handle if we assist each other. Our aim is not the Ksh 400,” said Mr. Willian Mwangi.
TIST started its operations in Laikipia in 2008. It empowers small groups of subsistence farmers to reverse the devastating effects of deforestation, drought, and famine.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Laikipia Co-operative begins process of recruiting a cooperative manager

By Bob Aston
Laikipia Produce and Marketing Cooperative Society serves farmers in Lakipia. It is a vehicle for bulking, marketing and trading in farm commodities and other products and services. Membership to the Cooperative is open to all.
The Cooperative is looking for a Cooperative Manager to manage its affairs on daily basis and to steer it to achieve its vision of building wealth for its members. Reporting to the Cooperative’s Management Board, the right candidate will meet the following criteria.
  • ·      Diploma in: agribusiness/farm management; economics; business management; cooperative management; community development; business development or related field.
  • ·         KCSE minimum grade C-Plain
  • ·         Computer literacy (proficiency in MS Word, Ms Excel, Ms PowerPoint and Internet and E-mail)
  • ·         Good communication, report writing and presentation skills
  • ·         Fluent in Kiswahili and English. Knowledge of the local language will be an added advantage
  • ·         Record keeping/analysis
  • ·         Sales and Marketing
  • ·         Strategizing for mobilization of farmers to join the cooperative
  • ·         Resource mobilization
  • ·         Report Writing (financial and donor reports)
  • ·         Manage the business of the co-operative
  • ·         Advisor to the board
  • ·         Outreach and networking with other key stakeholders
Please send a cover letter and detailed updated CV including day time phone number, an e-mail address and three professional references with telephone numbers to before November 28, 2014 at 5:00 pm.
The Cooperative welcomes applications from qualified women and men. If you do NOT hear from the co-operative after one month of application, please consider your application unsuccessful.

You can download a copy of the advert here