Kenya Pilot Project
Maranga County, Kenya
produced by the Climate Reality Project
The project facilitated the creation of a working production supply / value chain, including processes of propagation, planting, management, harvesting, processing, manufacturing for end uses, marketing, and sales. The project highlighted organic, non-chemical methods and management best practices to support sustainable growth of bamboo production and community engagement. As a result, innovative ways of combining sustainable bamboo forestry, kilns for efficient bamboo charcoal production, energy efficient cookstoves, and production of household products provide new local economic opportunities while safeguarding trees and ecosystems from ongoing deforestation.
Project BackgroundOne of the biggest global challenges today is to stop global warming at 2 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial level. How do we reach that goal? Many countries meet the challenge by planting trees. Forests sequester carbon and releases oxygen. Trees prevent soil erosion, keep the water ecology in balance, and provide us with nutrients and wood for cooking and building.
In Kenya, there is less than 2% closed canopy forest left. Greenbelt Movement, founded by late Professor Wangari Maathai, has been planting 60 million trees over the years, and so bringing prosperity and health back to rural communities in Kenya. Nonetheless, the demand for forest products continues to increase and poor local farmers are in need of a cash crop.
As anticipated, bamboo resources have come to the forefront in climate change / global warming debates because of its ability to absorb large amount of carbon. Bamboo is a grass and unlike trees, bamboo regrows after harvesting, just as grass regrows after cutting. After it is mature, between four to six years, bamboo can be harvested every single year for the life of the plant. Because bamboo requires few nutrients, it can grow in soil inhospitable to other plants and reclaim the land so other plants can thrive too.
To raise an industry based on bamboo agroforestry in Kenya, the initial Pilot Project emerged in Muranga County, north of Nairobi, representing over took two years of planning, networking and concept development culminating with launch activities in November / December, 2012, with two bamboo pilot plots launched in April 2013. The implementation and ongoing benefits of this Project is fulfilling the late Wangari Maathai’s dream to support green initiatives that ensure efficient use of natural resources for sustainable development and creation of job opportunities.
Pictured at right, launching day April 2013 with GBM women group welcoming the bamboo seedlings.
- Introduction of a new cash crop;
- Show an innovative and replicable way to produce and manage bamboo, and Introduce and teach ways to produce a variety of bamboo products;
- Reduce deforestation and loss of biodiversity in indigenous forests;
- Report on results.
- A total of 2018 bamboo plants have been sourced through 2013.
- 12 acres of Oxytenanthera Abyssinica (OA) are planted
- Protocol for the first phase of the value chain are tested and documented:
a. Totally 1874 bamboo seedlings have been sourced and planted
b. Plants have been guarded and managed on a daily basis for nearly one year by 24 local women working on rotation together with 3 guards and a local project manager
c. Two workshops were held; teaching locals to plant, prune and tend plants (Kitil Farm)
d. Monitoring program has been established; to document how various conditions and treatments influence survival
e. Practical information on management, harvesting, processing, and sale of bamboo documented (NFS)
f. Partnership regulated by MOU has been initiated with KBC. Workshop was held teaching locals to create household products for sale
- Different ways of using OA have been tested and documented such as treatment of bamboo poles by boric acid
- The market assessment shows the greatest short-‐term income potential is linked to products that don’t require advanced processing, such as fence poles, scaffolding, household products and charcoal/biochar
- Our findings show that bamboo is suitable and attractive as a source of eco-‐friendly biomass for charcoal/biochar. Several production methods and scales have been researched,.
- The advocating of bamboo as sustainable energy and cash crop have been done throughout the year in meetings, seminars, field visits and four workshops. Through communication with government, private sector and NGOs project staff it has been raised awareness of the value of bamboo in Kenya. Several information meetings with GBM´s management staff and board convened on strategic development and increased use of bamboo.
- One demonstration bamboo-‐toilet shed and one shelter for the guards have been constructed on pilot plot Block 1/197. District farmers frequently visit the plots. This is boosting the interest for bamboo
- The project involved and trained 24 women and their families, which is the number GBM deemed suitable for initial training