The 9th KEFRI Board of Directors made a familiarization tour to view KEFRI activities in Eastern and Coastal regions covering Kitui, Kibwezi, Taita Taveta and Gede between 4th and 9th December 2016. Regional Director for Dry- Land Eco-Region Research Programme Dr James. Ndufa, gave an over view of the ongoing research activities within the drylands which include improved Melia Volkensii seed orchard and progeny trials at Tiva Pilot forest. The BOD also toured the recently commissioned Melia seed processing and distribution unit which is a JICA supported breeding Project on Development of Drought Tolerant Tree species for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Drylands of Kenya.
In Makueni County, The BOD interacted with Mr. Jonathan Mungala, a farmer has collaborated with KEFRI for the last ten years in tree growing initiatives in the dry lands. The collaboration has enabled him establish woodlot comprising 16,368 commercial and fruit trees. After mastering the art of Melia propagation through training by KEFRI, Mungala has raised a total of 226,043 Melia seedlings between 2005 and 2016.The farmer was awarded Order of the Golden Warrior (OGW) by H.E President Mwai Kibaki in 2006 for his environment conservation efforts. Tree growing activities in the region are hindered by human animal conflict. Site matching and improper spacing of melia trees are not easily affected by or disease.
In Taita Taveta, the BOD paid a courtesy call to the Governor HE John Muruttu, who expressed great support for the construction of KEFRI Taita Taveta sub-center. The sub-centre will develop forestry research in Taita Taveta, Mombasa and Kwale counties. The Governor pointed out that his county government through its Ministry of Environment is sensitizing communities to adopt agroforestry and related activities to increase tree cover in the region. Dr. Ben Chikamai, Director KEFRI thanked the Governor for the support and commitment towards KEFRI initiatives
In Gede, the board interacted with staff serving in the coast Eco-region programme. The Chairman of the Board Dr. Sammy Letema while addressing the staff emphasized that KEFRI relevance will be felt more so in activities that impact on livelihood of communities He pledged for the Board support and on the other hand called for commitment and tolerance from the staff.
The BOD paid a visit to Ufanisi Women group, supported by European Union through KEFRI in forestry conservation and promotion of indigenous food crops. The group specializes in processing and marketing of herbal medicines, within the community. the group has established a herbal medicine processing. The Board of Directors also interacted with Msitu Womens Group which is growing Casuarina on their farms.
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