Lord David Sainsbury Visits Tree BioTechnology Programme Trust In Karura
The Chairman of the Gatsby Charitable Foundation (GCF) which is the single biggest donor of the Tree Biotechnology Programme Trust (TBPT) Lord David Sainsbury recently visited the project situated at the Kenya Forest Service headquarters in Karura to see the project his foundation has been funding for over 10 years now.
According to the TBPT Board of Trustees Chairman Mr. Joe Kibe, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation has funded the programme to the tune of the US dollars 1.1 million making it the biggest single donor to the programme that uses the latest biotechnology to propagate high quality tree seedlings for farmers.
Speaking after a tour of the facility, Lord Sainsbury lauded the programme saying that it was positively changing the lives of farmers in Kenya by offering high quality seedlings which grow faster and produce more biomass.
Referring to the misconception associated with the eucalyptus tree in regards to water absorption, Lord Sainsbury said that the species’ efficiency in water uptake should be gauged against its high productivity in terms of biomass and the other numerous products that come from it. He said that the tree consumes twice the amount of water consumed by a normal tree because it grows twice as fast. He pointed out that research had been done and guidelines put forward to direct the proper growing of the tree.
“People can only see the importance of forests if they benefit commercially from the same” said Lord Sainsbury. The eucalyptus programme was giving farmers opportunities to benefit from forests, he added.
He urged small scale farmers to embrace the eucalyptus in order to meet the demand for wood products as well as alleviating climate change. He urged the project to expand its services to the regions in order to meet the growing demand.
On reforestation, Lord Sainsbury suggested that the technology of gene and species selection be used as it will ensure faster growth of the trees being planted in degraded areas. He said that the same technology used to produce high quality eucalyptus hybrids could also be used in other tree species including indigenous ones.
While thanking GCF for its continued support to the TBPT, KFS Director Mr. David Mbugua speaking at the same event pointed out that KFS had developed a guideline on the proper growing of eucalyptus in Kenya. He said that farmers had been advised on the proper areas to plant the species saying that the controversy associated with its growth was largely informed by a lack of knowledge on the management of the species.
Report Courtesy – Charles Ngunjiri
Lord Sainsbury (R) is shown eucalptus seedlings by Project Manager, B. Kanyi
KFS Director, D.K. Mbugua addresses the press as Lord Sainsbury looks on
"How do you do that?"