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Better Globe

Better Globe Mukuyu farm

This is a 20 hectares commercial farm 220 kilometres South of Nairobi in the Southern Ukambani drylands. It is watered by Kibwezi River, allowing irrigation of vegetables (1.5 hectares) and fruit trees (7 hectares). Other activities include tree growing (mostly mukau or Melia volkensii and Azadirachta indica, the neem tree), small-scale sheep rearing, and bee keeping. There is a tree nursery as well as activities such as fodder production for the sheep and compost making.
Better Globe Mukuyu farm

A special feature of the Better Globe Mukuyu farm is its low pressure irrigation system with cheap water storage tanks. These are simple earth embankments with a plastic liner, linked for irrigation with Kenyan-made PE pipes. Their sizes are flexible, and such basins can contain anything between 30-100,000 litres of water.

Jan Vandenabeele, Executive Director of Better Globe Forestry, is one of the directors of Kibwezi Mukuyu Farm Ltd. Its activities are independent of Better Globe, but there are synergies to exploit, notably those regarding training opportunities for farmers in drylands.

Better Globe has a programme for capacity-building to support farmers in the bufferzones around its plantations. Not everything the farmers find on Mukuyu farm will suit them; however, among the variety of technologies on offer, some are of interest to them. Examples include the different drought resistant species of fodder plants for livestock, the use of biopesticides based on neem, and modern bee keeping.

Simple techniques like mulching to limit evaporation, stressing mango trees for out-of-season production, and creating impenetrable hedges with indigenous acacias are all appealing features for visitors who are willing to learn.

Another benefit of Better Globe is that it is a research ground for its own activities. Characteristics such as these contribute to a continuous incremental improvement for Better Globe’s plantation management. The synergies also work the other way round, as Mukuyu Farm has benefited of the continuous quality improvement system as practised in Better Globe.

Mukuyu Farm aims at zero tolerance for erosion and serves as a model to ecologically daunting environmental solutions. It employs 12 people and seasonal labour when required, and as such contributes to employment in the Kenyan countryside.