In 1983 the first project of the Vi-skogen agroforestry program started up in West Pokot. It’s aim was to stop the desert spread. The he next project started up in the district of Trans Nzoja south from Poket in the western part of Kenya in 1986.
Today the focus is on building up the agroforestry system which means that farmers plant crops together with trees. This system will improve the soil and the economy for the farmers.
20 years later we can see that the project is a success. Agroforestry farms are much more productive than for example maize farms. All farms have during this time produced crops and fire wood. The coming years will also see the harvest of the first generation timber trees. Agroforestry farms has a program in which plants at least two new trees for every harvested one. The planting and silviculture programs are already performing very well and will continue to deliver as the Vi-skogen project spreads and further its organization.
The key when it comes to all sorts of forestry is to balance the harvest level to the level of the growth. It is crucial to Vi-skogen to keep planting at least two new trees for every tree they harvest. If the program works according to plan it will also further the general soil sustainability and protect from erosion due to sun and rain.
The next step as I see it, is to educate farmers and workers in calculating timber and how work with chainsaw in a secure and professional manner. One task in the future could be a larger educating program in the use of chainsaw. Today many workers are using chainsaw with only ordinary shoes and trousers with out helmet.
I can see Swedish chainsaw license be introduced in Kenya in the future. It must should introduced – otherwise the harvesting will injure and even kill people and in the end possibly harming the overall development of the young Kenyan agroforestry industry.
TimberBusiness woman, Beatrice Okwakau with her chainsaw. No safety clothes.
Chain saw instructor Magnus Hakeman. Safety clothes.