Dr. Dennis Garrity from World Agroforestry Centre
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World Agroforestry Centre and Kenya Forestry Research Institute collaboration

Introduction to transcription of the video by Dr Dennis Garrity

Dr Garrity talks about the collaboration between World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya Forestry Research Institute and Better Globe Forestry Ltd to reduce poverty in Kenya by helping farmers earn an income through dryland tree planting. More information about Dr Dennis Garrity can be found at World Resource Institute and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

Background Dr Dennis Garrity 00:29

“My name is Dennis Garrity and I'm the former Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre here in Nairobi, Kenya. The center is the world leader in research and development on the role of trees in farming systems.”

“Over the last few years I also have been serving as the United Nations Convention on Desertification, Ambassador for the Drylands. And have been maintaining a profile of the problems and solutions that are so necessary to actually, improve the lives and livelihoods of people around the world in the drylands of the globe.”

Miti Magazine 01:17

“Information is one of the most critical constraints for the thousands of farmers who live in the drylands, and for the development workers in the expansionists that are also trying to help them to adjust their systems, develop new practices to improve their income.”

“And the magazine called Miti, which stands for tree in Swahili, has become the major vehicle, in fact, the appreciated and respected communication tool for; distributing information of all types regarding agroforestry in the drylands, the production of trees and plantations, and environmental amelioration as well.”

“I've been very very impressed with the quality of the Miti Magazine and the articles and the features that it presents. Its really becoming well known all across the region now. Although it started in Kenya there's now a lot of subscribers from Uganda and other countries, who are interested in trees for dryland production systems.”

“We at the World Agroforestry Centre who are very concerned about the quality and quantity of information that farmers and development specialists can receive, find the Miti Magazine a particular tool. And we often work together with the Miti publishers to put out new information through the articles and features that they're publishing each month. So we really appreciate that Magazine and its presence in the system.”

Better Globe Forestry Ltd. 03:04

“Indeed the Better Globe Forestry company, and its operations here in Kenya, have opened up new vistas for the way in which a private sector company can contribute to development in the drylands.”

“We need a lot more of those kinds of investments where companies can in fact collaborate with the poorest farmers in the country, in meeting joint mutual interests in producing more trees, and building industries based on the wood produced as timber and as a feedstock, for furniture and other high-quality goods.”

Mukau trees for the drylands 03:51

“One example of a tree species that has been pioneered, in fact, by the Better Globe Forestry Group is Mukau, or Melia volkensii, which has been a species of great interest to our scientists here at the World Agroforestry Centre because it's an indigenous tree species here in Kenya.”

“Present throughout the drylands, and yet one which has received so little attention in developing its enormous potential as an industry in this country. Our friends at the Kenya Forest Research Institute have also been working with Better Globe Forestry and our scientists at World Agroforestry Centre. Because we have a joint vision actually, that in the future the amount of Mukau produced by farmers, is going to increase to the thousands and tens of thousands of producers as people begin to appreciate the profitability of the species.”

“Now why you ask is Mukau particularly special? And that is because it is unique in the fact that it is a dryland species very adapted to drought conditions and poor soil environments. And yet it is of quality that is comparable to the best of Mahogany, which is the standard that is of high quality furniture wood produced from the forests of Africa.”

Reducing poverty and deforestation 05:35

“In fact here in Kenya nearly all of the high quality Mahogany type wood is now imported from the Congo Basin where deforestation is rampant. And those logs, those big logs, are being transported to Kenya in massive trucks every day, depleting the Congo Basin forests in the process.”

“Now what Better Globe Forestry realized, was that this species Mukau could be produced as an alternative to Mahogany from the Congo. And in the process creating a whole industry of production, harvesting, processing and the development of high quality timber and furniture goods, that could eventually be a major export industry in Kenya. We're all agreed that this is the vision. And it could be an enormous benefit to economic growth in the drylands if we can see that vision through to fruition.”

Supporting poor farmers and economic growth in Kenya 06:43

“And I would say that Better Globe Forestry has been the key vehicle, for in fact, developing both interest in the species and models of investment. That can enable farmers by the thousands to have the credit, to have the technical support, to have the seeds and seedlings of the species of tree, that they can plant on their farms, manage either as wood lots, or as intercropped trees with their annual species of crops like maize. And produce the assets and income that can enable them to escape from from dire poverty.”

“I think this is one of the big news stories of agroforestry in Kenya. And we look forward to continuing to work with Better Globe Forestry for the years to come, as we see the potential growing for the development of Mukau as a major industry contributing to the economic growth of Kenya.”

Help Kenyan farmers out of poverty with Mukau trees