by Luther Osier
“Last week in Baringo, I spoke on the Government’s plan to move into an afforestation program. I strongly urge objectivity in media’s reporting” Deputy President Gachagua spoke.
The DP spoke during the official opening of the Nairobi Trade Fair at the Jamhuri ground, where he bought a bull at Sh1.3 million during the livestock auction.
“I meant the Government will engage farmers to plant trees as they grow crops and then vacate once the trees have matured,” said Gachagua.
“We will work with farmers to do afforestation on known reserves.”
The word ‘Shamba’ translates from Swahili to farm. However, it refers to the system known as Pelis, short for Plantation Establishment for Livelihood Improvement Scheme or non-resident cultivation (NRC).
This particular system came from the colonial administration in 1910 as a way to provide timber for the sector.
It’s implemented by the Kenya Forest Service KFS and it consists of allocating farmers shambas (small plots) in degraded forests. Her farmers are offered room to plant and tend to tree seedlings as they nurture their crops for nine months.
Seedlings are provided by the KFS as farmers provide labor that is earns value from the product that is harvested.
Upon maturation of the trees, the farmers are to move out. A situation that offers pristine land for farmers while afforesting the environs.