|Fundamental business principles|
It is important to distinguish the work in the plantation areas, and Better Globe Forestry's interventions in the so-called "buffer zones", surrounding the plantations. We recognise that a good-neighbour policy is the best way to protect our plantations and as such we have developed a range of interventions to cooperate with neighbouring communities and individuals.
Our fundamental business principle is to conduct all our transactions with integrity and in accordance with good business ethics and practices.
Better Globe Forestry Ltd is the agent of Better Globe AS in Norway for the implementation of their tree-planting objectives. The relationship is regulated by contract and BGF is accountable to BG AS for the planting, growing, maintenance, harvesting and selling of the different wood products from the plantations.
In November 2006, Better Globe Forestry Ltd started a pilot planting of 100 hectares of the first major tree plantation of 5,000 hectares around Kiambere Dam on the Tana River. The area has a very high unemployment rate with over 65% of the people classified as absolute poor. The land belongs to the Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (TARDA).
Ecologically, the area around Kiambere dam is semi-arid, with an average rainfall of about 600mm a year. Altitude ranges between 700-800m, making for a hot tropical climate where evaporation exceeds rainfall by far. Rainfall is erratic and some years are completely dry.
So far, large-scale tree plantations in arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) do not exist in Kenya and BGF is pioneering the field.
In the Kiambere drylands, BGF has planted mukau (Melia volkensii). The high-quality timber that the tree produces will be used to make economically strong products. Trials have also been done with neem (Azadirachta indica) for bio-pesticides, Jatropha curcas for bio-diesel and Acacia senegal for gum arabic.
Along the way, BGF abandoned jatropha as experience and further studies cast doubt on the profitability of this species when planted in drylands. However, Acacia senegal is very important for our second, and by far, biggest project.
In May 2008, Better Globe Forestry Ltd signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Sosoma Ranching Cooperative Society (SRS) in Mwingi, for the industrial afforestation of 60,705 hectares of land with indigenous tree species. The document is further under-signed by the District Commissioner and the District Co-operative Officer, both representing the Kenya Government. The species targeted in this challenging area are Melia volkensii and Acacia senegal. According to plan, 100 hectares will be planted in 2015. The seeds for this initial trial are now being collected.
In May 2012, Better Globe Forestry and the Witu-Nyongoro Ranching Society signed a lease agreement. According to the agreement, 21,500 hectares are to be planted with mukau and mango trees, casuarinas for windbreaks and indigenous acacias for temporarily waterlogged areas.
All BGF's projects are situated in ASAL and we will establish processing plants for these raw materials in the immediate surroundings of the plantations, creating more employment and commercial activities in the countryside.
Better Globe Forestry Ltd, supported by top experts in agro-forestry, also takes on consultancy, implementation and training services in agro-forestry related fields, and has an established forestry and agricultural test and training centre in Kibwezi for that purpose. This model dryland farm is excelling in integrated farming techniques for drylands with emphasis on tree-planting, water management and soil fertility for increased productivity. Water management and the efficient use of water are demonstrated through a variety of techniques including low-pressure drip irrigation for fruits and vegetables.
Better Globe Forestry Ltd also publishes MITI magazine, an established high quality and full colour tree business magazine, the only of its kind in East-Africa The magazine aims to inform its readers, both professionals and non-professionals, on matters related to afforestation in Africa.