June 18, 2024

Mangrove Farmers Reaping Big In Coast

Mangrove Seedlings planted recently (Photo / Courtesy)

By Khamis Kahaso

Email, thecoastnewspaper@gmail.com

Mangrove tree seedlings are changing fortunes of a conservation group in Kilifi County that is reaping big from selling them.

The Kidundu Mtongani Conservation Self-help Group is making Sh10.5 million annually from the venture that is also used to restore mangrove forest cover of its immediate area.

Stephen Chivatsi, the group chair, says the efforts have been made possible with the support of Gro With Us a Non-governmental organisation.

With its 30-member team, it has so far managed to restore 500-acres of mangrove plantation in Kidundu village.

Besides helping to mitigate the effects of climate change, Chivatsi adds that the restoration and enriching of the mangrove ecosystem not only helps in fighting poverty, but also generates income to the local community.

Speaking in Kidundu Village after planting more than 10,000 mangrove seedlings, the chair says the mangrove restoration efforts have also enhanced fishing activities in the area.

“Gro with Us has greatly changed this community because earlier we were doing the conservation of mangroves without any pay but now we are proud, 24 of our members have been employed on a permanent basis.”

He says the revenue from the sale has not only enhanced conservation works, but also helped in the development programmes such as access to education, medical healthcare and clean water.

“We have students right now who are in secondary schools and Universities and all this is through the support of Gro With Us. Before then it was very difficult to educate a child to this level.”

The chair notes that since they got the support of the NGO in 2019 their proceeds from the mangrove seedlings selling has doubled.

A member, Jesca Katana, 30, says their conservation efforts have greatly changed their lives and livelihoods.

Despite the group taking part in fishponds and prawns rearing, she says their sales inputs were too small compared to what they are getting from the sales of mangrove seedlings.

“Fish and prawns take three to four months to be ready for harvest and even their market is low compared to the sales of mangrove seedlings.”

Gro with Us Africa managing director Kelly Banda said that the project has been successful due to the support of the community and the high level of commitment.

The MD said his organization is working with Mtongani -Kidundu group to restore mangrove forest cover and empower the community economically.

Mr Banda said it is a seven-years project that is targeting to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change along the coastal region.

He further said that they are planning to establish other conservation areas along the Coastline as part of expanding their conservation efforts.

“As part of conservation, plans are underway to make sure communities along the Coastline get informed on the importance of conserving mangrove forests. From here we will pitch tent in Maya Island and Watamu and then will go to Mombasa and Diani in Kwale County.”

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