Funded by Conservation International
Project Title: Conservation of Mt. Elgon forests: In the Cheptais landscape of Bungoma County, Kenya
Enhancing the quality of life in our communities is extremely important goal for which SANREM has the potential and commitment. The Conservation Agreement Private Partnership Program will enable SANREM to achieve vital results which is to ensure that resources are tapped for the well being of the people today and ensuring that resources are here for the benefit of future generations.
The key threats that will be experienced when trying to solve the serious environmental issues that we are now facing are several including climate change. This is a major issue since agriculture is a weather oriented activity. The local communities are experiencing unusual weather patterns therefore, they cannot plan their calendar well resulting to crops dying which reduces the amount of food available. Hotter temperatures are also causing the ice caps to melt causing rise in sea levels while unexpected rains causing flooding. The harmful greenhouse gases that are emitted to the air should be curbed and promotion of planting more trees should also be done. Trees are important as they provide oxygen, is a natural habitat to wildlife and a natural fighter of global warming. Trees should be planted more and use of recycled paper promoted.
Pollution is another threat with air and water pollution being the major forms as many industries have come up and emit dangerous gases into the air and waste in the water. The government should be encouraged to enact more policies on curbing this menace so as to reduce these incidences.
Explosive population growth causes a strain on water, food, well being and space. We have limited resources which have to be shared between the large numbers of people therefore; everyone will be fighting for the little that is available.
Poor rural infrastructure is also a major issue as navigating through the region will require more time which would have been covered in a shorter period if the infrastructure was favorable.
Fluctuation of market prices which will make it difficult for the locals to know and plan on their profits.
Opportunities include youth engagement whereby, they will be connected with employment opportunities and civic engagement opportunities at different levels of the value chain.
Provision of the modern farm inputs and technologies to the local community should be encouraged so as to enhance the production of the products.
The project aims include:
- To propose mechanisms for mainstreaming biodiversity conservation and community livelihood concerns into private sector and market dynamics and develop a private sector and market approach/model to enhance climate resilience, household incomes and market access in the trans boundary Mt. Elgon landscape;
- To identify climate smart agriculture best practices to be scaled up in the Mt. Elgon landscape;
- To identify and map partners and networks to facilitate implementation of the community based approach in the Mount Elgon landscape
Using the conservation agreement as an approach to respond to the conservation
- Climate-smart agriculture (CSA)
- Collaborative conservation strategies
- Trans-national cooperation
- Public-private-civic partnerships (PPCPs)
The expected results of using the CA approach include:
- Biogas = reduced use of fuel/wood
- Improved soil fertility (from manure production)
- Reduced degradation
- Reduced erosion from overgrazing
- Improved soil and water conservation from expanded tree planting and management to supply new markets
- Improved availability of fodder from agro forestry, reduced encroachment of livestock into wildlife habitat,
- Indirect –multiplier effect, duplication
The feasibility study will involve a rapid initial assessment which will be covered in 2 weeks whereby, there will be a checklist of whether the area is suitable for a conservation agreement. Here, the team will build a relationship with the resource users so as to have a smooth time during the implementation stage.
The goals and outcomes will then be identified through surveys and interviews which will result in a project feasibility report. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct the feasibility study.
Private Sector Participation
The private sectors that will be involved in the conservation program in Kenya include:
- Kenya seed Company: This company will carry out focused research in Cheptais region, to promote and facilitate production of high yielding, better quality certified seeds , to enhance food self-sufficiency and reduce overreliance on forest products like charcoal and timber that is normally sold and income used to buy food and other basic needs.
- East African Growers: This is a company that is engaged in growing, processing, packaging and exporting of Grade 1 Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers to premium markets within Europe. Mount Kenya is a high potential horticulture region; therefore the company will engage farmers in production of these horticulture products. These will diversify their source of income and reduce their overreliance on forest products to earn livelihood.
- Vi Agroforestry: This is a Swedish development cooperation organization, that fight poverty and improves the environment through tree planting. It will share knowledge on how to reduce soil and nutrient losses from crop land, increase carbon and tree cover on-farm. It will also help in managing group nurseries that will be initiated by SANREM and Vi Agroforestry.
- ACDI/VOCA: is a private, international development nonprofit organization dedicated to poverty alleviation and broad-based economic growth. It promotes economic opportunities for cooperatives, enterprises and communities through the innovative application of sound business practice. SANREM will work with ACDI/VOCA to provide capacity building in sound business practices to farmers in Cheptais landscape of Bungoma County, Kenya
- Equity Bank and Family Bank Bungoma Branches: These banks operate together with farmers in provision of loans and credit services at low interest rates. The loans are used in upscaling farming technology in the region including buying of inorganic fertilizers, chemicals herbicides and pesticides and also farm tools and equipment. SANREM will actively engage farmers and connect them to these banks for advice and easy accessibility of loans and credit.
- Mabanga Agricultural Technology Development Centre (ADTC), Bungoma: This is a major agriculture learning and research center in the region. SANREM will engage ADTC to carry out trials of the major food items preferred by the locals. ADTC will also help in writing reports on the implementation processes especially on the willingness of locals to adopt proposed new farming and conservation technologies.
- Timber Manufacturing Association, Bungoma: This sector will be involved in carrying out public awareness on sustainable use of trees. This includes implementation of “cut one plant ten” rule which will foster the greening of the region while utilizing tree resources.
- New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC): Will be engaged in provision of livestock extension services in diary livestock, purchase and processing of milk products. This is aimed at reducing farmers’ overreliance on cultivated agriculture to earn livelihood and in the process, promote ecological conservation through prevention of cutting of trees to pave way for cultivation.
- Agriculture sector development support programme (ASDSP), Kitale: This sector will work with SANREM to do capacity building in different crops that can be grown in the region relative to both internal and external market demands. Farm diversification, farm planning and management will be the chore activities in this partnership.
Other Project Partners / Stakeholders
Other partners that will be directly involved in implementing this project include:
- Ministry of Water and Environment
- Kenya Forest Service (KFS)
- National Environment
- Management Authority (NEMA)
- Ministry of Agriculture
- County Government of Bungoma
- Western Kenya Community Demand Driven & Flood Mitigation Project (WKCDD & FMP)
- Mt Elgon National Park
- Mt Elgon Park CBO
The above partners will be involved in:
- Capacity building program to empower the locals in decision making and accessibility to important information and technology about natural resource conservation.
- Provision of extension services, especially by the government ministries to bring the solution at the doorstep of farmers. This is aimed at bridging the barriers of lack of information accessibility, misinformation and poor decisions that results into low farm outputs
- Provision of subsidized farm inputs by the county and national governments to farmers to ensure increased farm profits and promote agribusiness in the region.
- Value chain addition by empowering farmers to improve on quality of their farm produce. This will also be done through linking farmers to manufacturers and customers. The processed and/or packaged food items command high market prices.
- Carry out environmental impact assessment of the proposed and existing farm technologies and advise farmers and locals on the best and nondestructive farm technologies to be adopted.
Long-term conservation measures and sustainability is the main objective of this project:
- SANREM will partner with different government departments both at county and national levels to draft agricultural bills and policies that address the interest and the needs of the farmers in Cheptais and other regions in Kenya. These policies and bills will bind the government to sustainably provide its services to farmers.
- Majority of private sectors are profit making businesses. SANREM will make sure that it links the farmers with these sectors and assist in drafting memorandums of understandings. Long-term business agreements results into long-term conservation of natural resources due to less dependency on the natural resources like trees for livelihood.
- SANREM will monitor the implementation and the progress of the agricultural activities in Cheptais for the next three years and write reports with proposals on the necessary changes required to streamline post project activities.
The potential sources of funding for financial sustainability will include donations from well-wishers, grants, national and local governments through their budgetary allocation.