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BG Newsletter: Better Globe Forestry starts AgroEcology for small farmers

Good News from Kenya

Edited version of Better Globe Newsletter from October 2014 by CEO Rino Solberg

I returned from a recent Kenya trip, highly inspired by the many positive things going on there. First, we met with the Chairman of the KenGen Foundation (part of the biggest power company in Kenya) to discuss planting trees in schools and on their land. This will provide opportunities for locals to act as outgrowers* in terms of planting trees. It is an honor for Better Globe Forestry to have such a partnership with KenGen in Kenya, because the Government is also a shareholder in this Stock Exchange listed company.

* Contract farming, known as outgrower scheme in Eastern Africa, involves agricultural production being carried out on the basis of an agreement between the buyer and farm producers. Sometimes it involves the buyer specifying the quality required and the price, with the farmer agreeing to deliver at a future date.

University of Nairobi

Better Globe Forestry signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the University of Nairobi for development of Mukau trees seedlings through In-vitro production. Students from this university will be doing some work for us in the field in our Kenyan tree plantations.

Our tree plantations have also been visited by students through a collaboration on tissue culture with Ghent University in Belgium. Recently Better Globe Forestry also conducted an interview with Mr. Bart Ouvry, Belgian Embassador in Kenya.

AgroEcology - The Better Globe Way

Mark the word above, because that is from now on what Better Globe Forestry is tuning into when planting trees and building communities in Africa. See what UN says about it;

"UN: only small farmers and Agroecology
can feed the world."

Better Globe's biggest challenge has always been acquiring enough land to establish our plantations, but with our new concept, we may never face this challenge again. In Africa, more and more companies from other countries are grabbing land and evicting people who have lived there for decades. Because of that, we have been looking for different ways to approach this important issue in a better and secure way. After almost 10 years of studying and understanding how land systems work in Africa, Better Globe has found the best system that will help poor farmers to eradicate poverty, which we call; AgroEcology - The Better Globe Way.

With the use of agroecology, we can speed up our tree planting drastically. We will train the outgrowers how to plant trees on their cleared land, which overall will save us a lot of time and resources. Better Globe Forestry has extended the known agroecology system, to also include topics as microfinance, carbon credits, shared ownership, repurchase agreements, private area supervisor, partnership agreements etc.

Agroecology is the study of ecological processes that operate in agricultural production systems. The prefix agro- refers to agriculture. Bringing ecological principles to bear in agroecosystems can suggest novel management approaches that would not otherwise be considered. The field of agroecology is not associated with any one particular method of farming, whether it be organic, integrated, or conventional; intensive or extensive.

In our decision making, we have compiled the knowledge from all these areas:

  • How the Governments work with land issues
  • How the Government look at tree planting
  • How big development organizations work
  • How outgrowers systems work
  • How to secure sustainability with outgrowers
  • How tree planting work
  • How microfinance systems work
  • How poverty eradication work in Africa

With our new concept, outgrowers will be the mainstream business in the years to come, and Better Globe Forestry will be able to support thousands of families at a lot faster rate. The Kenyan Government's 2030 vision states that all farmers should have a minimum of 10% of their land as wood lot (covered by forest) to secure long-term sustainability and saving the environment, which is very timely for Better Globe's new approach.

ICRAF Investment Conference

Next June, our partner ICRAF (The World Agroforestry Center) will arrange to have an international "investment conference for sustainable agroforestry" in Kenya and I have been asked to be a main speaker at this conference, using Better Globe Forestry's approach as an example of how poverty eradication for small farmers can be done. Isn't THAT exciting?

Jean-Paul Deprins and Prof. George Chemining'wa showing a signed MoU

On the left; Jean-Paul Deprins, Managing Director of Better Globe Forestry, and on the right; Prof. George Chemining'wa, Chairman of the Plant Science & Crop Protection Department, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nairobi, showing a signed MoU between the two parties.

Better Globe is here to stay; we have found a better way.

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Belgian Embassador in Kenya on Better Globe's Tree Planting Activities

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