- The youths formed the group in 2017 to keep themselves busy to avoid falling into the traps of joblessness.
- The group majors in production of fruits trees seedlings such as mangoes and avocados.
As the national government advances its plans to plant 15 billion trees by 2032, a group of youths from Murang’a county that mass produces seedlings has called on the state to partner with them.
The group dubbed Jitambulishe with a membership of 25 youths, was established in 2017 with the aim of financial empowerment and fighting climate change.
The group has been selling seedlings to farmers from Murang’a and its neighbouring counties.
As the long rains are expected in the country, each of the members has planted at least 20,000 seedlings in readiness for the boom that is brought by rainy seasons.
The nurseries are operated in their homes in Kongo-ini area, Kambirwa, Kiharu constituency, and have seen the youths move from joblessness to employers.
Eric irungu, one of the group leaders, said forming the group kept them from idleness that has thrust many of their age mates into the pits of alcoholism and drugs abuse.
“To be a member, one has to have a nursery. We use the group to look for markets and it comes in handy when there is a big demand for the seedlings,” he said, noting that each seedling sells for Sh100.
When it rains, the group receives buyers from as far as Samburu, Laikipia, Kirinyaga and Kiambu counties.
But with the current drought, Irungu said their business has gone down since they are forced to source for water from vendors at a higher cost.
Transporting the seedlings to buyers has also been a challenge, he said, especially when it entails going out of the county.
Irungu said the group is mulling sourcing for funds to expand their business and find a cheaper mode of transporting the seedlings.
Another group leader Eusebio Njoroge said they are waiting for the rains as they know their sales will increase.
“Since 2021, we have focused on producing fruit trees seedlings such as mangoes and avocados after realising that that is what most of our buyers wanted,” he said.
Njoroge said a local businesswoman Gladys Wambui brought them together and helped them to source for seeds and markets.
To firm their unity, the group meets weekly to assess their progress and strategise on how to boost their business.
“We discuss the challenges we face and how to handle them top among them being the high cost of water and labour,” he added.
He said they are working with several organisations that advocate for tree planting and environmental conservation and called on the government to work with them as it plants trees across the country.
This, Njoroge said, would further empower them financially while enhancing their impact against climate change.
Wambui said she encouraged the youths to form the group as a way of helping them to evade the societal challenges facing their counterparts.
She expressed elation at the fact that the group has prospered in its venture and hoped it will benefit from the tree planting programme by the National government.
County Commissioner Karuku Ngumo said local forest officers have been working closely with the youth group to plant environment friendly trees.
“The youths have worked hard to support conservation of environment. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed,” he said.