CASH COW

Seedlings gave me Mercedes, says eco-activist Kalua

Says endearing Kenyans into tree production requires showing them how they can make money

In Summary

• “You can imagine how many people want trees in this country. You can imagine how many people want to make money out of fruit and tree seedlings,” Kalua said.

• “Some of the economic problems can be dealt with at the grassroots level,” he said.

The founder and chairman of the Green Africa Foundation Isaac Kalua at the organisation's demonstration site iai Isaangwa in Kitui on Tuesday, May 11.
HIDDEN TREASURE: The founder and chairman of the Green Africa Foundation Isaac Kalua at the organisation's demonstration site iai Isaangwa in Kitui on Tuesday, May 11.
Image: MUSEMBI NZENGU

Kenyans have been challenged to embrace tree seedlings production as it is a hidden cash cow.

Renowned environmentalist Isaac Kalua said he made millions from tree seedlings production and was able to buy his first car, a Mercedes.

Kalua spoke on Tuesday during a training of youth and women groups at the Green Africa Foundation’s Isaangwa demonstration site in the outskirts of Kitui town.

The groups were trained on tree production, honey production and the efficiency of energy saving and environmentally friendly stoves. 

“I have in the past demonstrated how at this particular site, I produced tree seedlings enough to enable me to buy a Mercedes,” he said.

Kalua who is the founder and chairman of the Green Africa Foundation said he did not necessarily need a Mercedes Benz.

He said he only wanted to demonstrate to the people of Kenya that by dirtying his hands and doing something meaningful and strategic a dream was realised.

“The country has easy solutions out of what we have done, that can be experienced by many others freely. Some of the economic problems can be dealt with at the grassroots level,” Kalua said.

Members of women and youth groups at the Green Africa Foundation’s Isaangwa demonstration site in the outskirts of Kitui town on Tuesday, May 10.
TRAINING: Members of women and youth groups at the Green Africa Foundation’s Isaangwa demonstration site in the outskirts of Kitui town on Tuesday, May 10.
Image: MUSEMBI NZENGU

He said as part of the training, group members were made to understand that solutions to very complex economic issues, were at times simple and achievable through demonstrative training.

“You can imagine how many people want trees in this country. You can imagine how many people want to make money out of fruit production and tree seedlings. The number is immeasurable and you can be able to sell as many tree seedlings as you can produce,” Kalua said.

The environmentalist however said endearing Kenyans into tree production requires showing them how they can make money through the venture. “Then, you will be speaking the same language.” 

A trainee, Vivian Kanini, who runs a tree nursery in Kitui town, said from the training she had learned efficient nursery management, marketing skills and ways of pest control.

She said she had also learned how to properly mix soil, sand and manure at her nursery.

Another trainee, Dominic Mbula who is a farmer and an agro-chemist dealer said it had dawned on him that some chemicals sprayed on fruit trees had a negative health impact on people.

He said there is need for farmers to be encouraged to use organic and bio-pesticides.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)

Members of women and youth groups at the Green Africa Foundation’s Isaangwa demonstration site in the outskirts of Kitui town on Tuesday, May 10.
CASH COW: Members of women and youth groups at the Green Africa Foundation’s Isaangwa demonstration site in the outskirts of Kitui town on Tuesday, May 10.
Image: MUSEMBI NZENGU
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