Tuesday, February 23, 2010
KFS launches Guide for on-farm growing of eucalyptus
February 17, 2010
The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has released a guide on the growing and management of eucalyptus in Kenya. The Guide for on-farm growing of Eucalyptus is a tool to be used by field officers in advising farmers on the best species and siting for the planting of the genus that currently occupies over 100 000 hectares of land in the country.
The guide has been authored by senior foresters at KFS and reviewed by several forestry stakeholders among them scientists from the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) and environmental experts from the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).
According to the Head of Farm Forestry in KFS Mrs. Jennifer Ngige, the criticism leveled against eucalyptus is not warranted at all as most of it is based on lack of knowledge on the management of the tree. On the contrary, Mrs. Ngige says that eucalyptus is a very viable investment for thousands of farmers because of its value chain which includes timber, poles and fuelwood.
Mrs. Ngige asserts that like many fast growing tree species, eucalyptus is a very efficient water user. Site matching should thus be done to make sure that the species is planted on appropriate locations far from water sources and riparian areas.
KFS has already zoned out the areas to be planted with the different types of tree species including indigenous and plantations for both conservation of the environment purposes and industrial needs of the country.
The benefits of growing eucalyptus according to Mrs. Ngige are many, ranging from their fast growth to their diversity in species type ideal for the different ecological zones in Kenya from the coastal saline conditions to arid and semi arid areas and highlands.
Their fast growth and relatively low management costs have also made them the best choice for production of fuel wood in the tea, cement and tobacco industries which traditionally use the very costly and environmentally unfriendly furnace oil for production adds Mrs. Ngige.
According to Mrs. Ngige, the guide is a precursor to a Policy on Eucalyptus that is being generated in collaboration with the Ministries of Forestry and Wildlife, Environment and Mineral Resources, Agriculture, Water and Irrigation among other stakeholders.
Posted by Administrator One at 6:39 AM