Nyongoro plantation

This plantation is located at the northern Kenyan coast, in Lamu County, on a ranch of 32,000ha.

The owner of the ranch is the WituNyongoro Ranch Directed Agricultural Company Ltd, which is composed of members of the local communities with a sizeable shareholding held by the Government, through the Ministry of Livestock.

Preliminary contacts between BGF and the ranch started as early as March 2007, and a lease agreement for an area of 15,000ha was signed in May 2012, although planting started on a small scale in 2010, after approval of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in the beginning of the same year.
The ranch land touches the Malindi-Lamu road, some 15 km before Witu town, and some 30km from the coastline.
This distinction is important, as rainfall diminishes quickly from the coastal strip towards its northern hinterland, that knows semi-arid conditions.

The nursery is located closely to the road, aside Lake Moa, used for water supply.

Lake Moa is one of the lakes at the edge of the Tana river delta, and is actually fed by the river. Its water level fluctuates according to the seasons, and it is home to a large population of hippos. There is two rainy seasons and two dry seasons. The peak of the rains occurs during the month of May, with a smaller quantity of rain in November.

The dry seasons run from July to October, and from December to April, although there is quite some variability.
The local population belongs to different communities, both pastoralists and agriculturalists, although traditionally the economic mainstay of the area is livestock rearing. The area is sparsely populated, and the vegetation is composed of a mosaic of grasslands and thickets, with “siwas” (depressions) scattered in between. These siwas accumulate water during the rainy season, and as such, some are deepened by bulldozer to increase their water holding capacity. These volumes of water are added to more water pumped over a distance of several kilometres from the lake, for watering seedlings planted during the dry seasons, as we plant year-round, albeit at a higher rate during the rainy seasons.

The land is flat, with some micro-relief, lying at 15-20masl, and the soils are sandy loam or loamy sands, no stones or rocks present. These conditions are favourable to mechanization of operations, such as land clearing, pitting, weed control and watering. Currently, BGF maintains a fleet there of 3 Caterpillars, and 8 tractors, the latter equipped with a variety of implements such as augers (for drilling planting holes), water bowsers equipped with a pump and booms for irrigating seedlings (4 at a time), brush cutters, boom sprayers and trailers. Operations like planting and pruning are difficult to mechanise, not to mention seedling production and security. Hence, we employ about 60-120 workers, depending on the season. BGF is the biggest employer of the area. As per the month of June 2019, here we have planted about 600 ha.
All seedlings are produced locally in a centralized nursery, specialised in Melia volkensii(mukau) with a yearly production capacity of 500,000 seedlings.