Kenyan Parliamentary Member and member of the Agriculture and Livestock Committee, Hon Gabriel Kago Mukuha attended a graduation ceremony held for 177 Kenyan farmers who have successfully planted themselves out of poverty.
“[Trees for the Future] has served as a practical example that participation of farmers to pass knowledge plays a big role in conserving the environment, contributing to rebuilding and preservation of land for future generations.” said Hon Gabriel Kago Mukuha the area Member of Parliament.
International development nonprofit Trees for the Future teaches farmers to use agroforestry and permaculture to dramatically improve their yields and incomes. Participating farmers learn how to establish what is called a Forest Garden to protect their land, diversify their crops, and see a 400% average increase in income. At the end of the four-year program, the farmers are celebrated with a graduation ceremony.
“We used to plant only maize until Trees for the Future came and taught us how to utilize land,” said graduating farmer Alice Wangu Mwaura. Wangu now grows a variety of trees (including fodder trees), vegetables, fruits, and maize.
Wangu and the other graduating farmers were able to introduce new vegetables into their gardens and learned how to time the production of vegetables to coincide with better prices in the market. In total, the group has planted 947,608 trees since joining the program in 2016.
"I am humbled by the initiative and it’s my humble request that Trees for the Future consider to spread to the whole sub-county,” said Hon Gabriel Kago Mukuha before announcing that he would be giving each farmer avocado and macadamia nut tree seedlings to plant in their Forest Gardens.
“Receiving the support from leaders like Hon Mukuha and Kiambu County Department of Agriculture and Livestock is imperative to the success of our programs,” said Trees for the Future Director of Programs, Brandy Lellou. “Our mission is to educate farmers in a sustainable solution to poverty and hunger; having local, regional, and national leaders on board means that these methods will be able to take root.”
Trees for the Future currently works with farmers across five projects in Homa Bay and Ikinu, Kenya and has projects across Sub-Saharan Africa. The organization plans to plant 500 million trees in 125,000 Forest Gardens by 2025.