(Last Updated On: May 25, 2014)
Agro-forestry is a business venture most Kenyans are not familiar about. The forest cover in Kenya has reduced so much that the Kenyan government has decided to conserve most of it to avoid drastic climate change. The demand for timber is high in Kenya since it is used to make furniture, electricity poles, building construction, biomass energy and printing.
Around 1800 local farmers, who own around two acres of land each, are marking a good sum of money growing and selling trees. Most of them usually grow eucalyptus which matures very fast. So far around 46,000 acres are under private commercial tree farming.
Before planting trees in your piece of land, you should get experts to explain to you which type of tree is suitable for the soil and climate to avoid any losses. Eucalyptus seedlings cost around sh15-sh25 each depending on the variety or place you buy them. If you plant 1000 eucalyptus seedlings or any other variety on a three acre piece of land, it will cost you just sh 15,000. You will need labour when it comes to planting and weeding when they are still small.
Eucalyptus trees reach the height of 12 feet after around two years or earlier. You can easily sell each to a local timber yard for sh2000. 1000 trees can make you around ah1.8 million after expenses and if all your trees survive. The profit margins are huge. Trees are not labour intensive once they pass a certain height since they can then survive on their own. If you can wait for 9 years for them to fully mature, you can sell each for sh18,000 for electricity poles. This will fetch you a clean sh18 million or more. Since the roots don’t die after harvesting some will start growing again so you will not need to buy new seedlings or do land preparation.
There are different types of eucalyptus trees that can be grown in different parts of Kenya with different climate. Some are heat tolerant while some are meant for the highlands.