Witu Nyongoro Ranch Directed Agricultural Company Ltd, to give it its full name, is the owner of Nyongoro Ranch in Lamu district, at the northern end of the Kenyan coastline. The ranch is about 32,000 hectares, part of which has been leased to Better Globe Forestry Ltd. It is lush savannah land, with clumps of trees and sometimes a forest, lying across the Lamu-Malindi highway.
As its name implies, the ranch was home to livestock rearing activities in the early 1980s, until misfortune struck, and cattle rustlers stole hundreds of head of cattle. Coupled with mismanagement by ranch officials, the ranch could not overcome its problems and fell into a dormant state for over 15 years.
Preliminary contacts between BGF and the ranch started as early as March 2007. Several site visits took place for assessment of the ranch and presenting BGF to the ranch committee members in Witu. These working visits continue up to today.
Simultaneously, work related to ownership documentation was set in motion at the Ministry of Lands in Nairobi. Ownership documentation was incomplete and BGF had to dig up evidence on the ground and retrieve crucial documents to allow the ranch to receive the title deed.
Representatives of the Witu Nyongoro Ranch management and the Lamu District authorities visited the Kiambere plantation in 2008 to see how large-scale plantations in ASAL look like, and get an idea of how Nyongoro Ranch would look like in future.
The district authorities and the line ministries (Livestock and Agriculture) as well as the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), the Kenya Forest Service and the Kenya Wildlife Service, are kept informed of all activities that BGF undertakes in Nyongoro Ranch.
BGF completed the legally required environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a pilot plantation of 100 hectares, and this was approved by NEMA at the beginning of 2010. A nursery was established on site as early as 2009 as the conditions in Nyongoro are slightly different from those in Kiambere.
BGF signed a lease agreement with the ranch in May 2012.
BGF planted mukau (Melia volkensii) despite the fact that the species is slightly out of its natural habitat. The trees grow vigorously. A bulldozer was acquired to clear the land and large-scale establishment has started.
Some indigenous acacias, namely, Acacia zanzibarica and Acacia nilotica have been selected for the edges around siwa (temporarily waterlogged areas), and a plantation of grafted mangoes has been established in the southern part of the ranch. In addition, casuarina has been planted on a large scale as windbreaks for the mukau. Both mangoes and casuarina have short-term commercial value.
The ranch has also attracted investors who have set up a licensed, professionally and sustainably run charcoal operation that uses the bushes cleared by the bulldozer.
|NB: Remember to copy the coordinates as they are or type observing all the spaces between the numbers, to Google Earths Fly in section
|1. Kiambere Site: -0.689822, 37.91|
|2. Nyangoro Site: 02 19.782'S, 040 19.416'E|
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