The Art of Farming with Trees

Meru South district lies at the foothills of Mount Kenya. Within Meru more than 70% of the population lives below the poverty line with more than 90% of rural families using wood fuel for cooking which is done largely on traditional three stone stove. The cost of wood fuel has been on the rise due to high levels of deforestation and the ever increasing demand for the rare commodity. Consequently, families spend a big percentage of their income purchasing wood fuel. Besides the high cost of wood fuel, cooking on open fires causes health problems brought that results from smoke i.e. s lung and eye ailments.

For over three years now Carbon Zero Kenya has worked round the clock to implement an energy efficient cook stove project in Meru South that has seen high reductions in wood consumption promoting conservation of forests within the area. Agro forestry and use of improved cook stoves have been on top agenda in the campaign to reduce pressure on the existing natural forests. Carbon Zero Kenya prides in contributing in saving one of Kenya’s natural water towers (Mt. Kenya) through 8000 energy efficient cook stoves distributed to the local community in Meru South. For the past 3years there is a traceable impact chain in wood harvest trends in this region, locals have alternatively used Gravillea robusta branches for firewood. Forest trees are now able to mass branches due to less pruning.

The use of Carbon Zero Stoves has greatly contributed to reduced wood harvest intervals therefore giving Mt Kenya forest vegetation a chance to flourish. In addition economic and social benefits are realized as wood expenses are considerably reduced, not forgetting other risks that come with wood collecting like rape and violence on women and young girls.

Compiled by; Michael Njihia, Virginia Njata and Moses Maina

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