Coast

Kilifi conservation group reaps big from sale of mangrove seedlings

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These seedlings play a crucial role in restoring the mangrove forest cover in the region, contributing significantly to environmental conservation and community development.

The Kidundu Mtongani self-help conservation group in Kilifi County is experiencing unprecedented success, earning Sh10.5 million annually from the sale of mangrove seedlings.

According to the group, these seedlings play a crucial role in restoring the mangrove forest cover in the region, contributing significantly to environmental conservation and community development.

Stephen Chivatsi, chair of the 30-member group, credits their success to support from the Gro With Us non-governmental organisation.

“Our efforts have restored 500 acres of mangrove plantations in Kidundu village. This not only mitigates climate change effects but also fights poverty by generating new income avenues,” Chivatsi told The Eastleigh Voice in a phone interview on Wednesday.

He highlighted the dual benefits of their work during the planting of over 10,000 mangrove seedlings.

“Mangrove restoration has enhanced local fishing activities. Earlier, we conserved mangroves without pay. Now, thanks to Gro With Us, 24 of our members have permanent employment.” he explained.

An undated picture of some of the mangrove seedlings sold by the Kidundu Mtongani self-help conservation group in Kilifi County. (Photo: Farhiya Hussein/EV)

The group’s revenue supports various development programmes, including healthcare, clean water access, and education.

“We have students in secondary schools and universities because of Gro With Us. Before, it was tough to educate a child to this level,” Chivatsi added

Since partnering with the NGO in 2019, the group’s proceeds have doubled.

Jessica Katana, a 30-year-old member, noted the significant impact on their livelihoods, saying, “Our lives have greatly changed. We are involved in fishponds and prawn rearing but the income from these activities is small compared to the sales of mangrove seedlings."

Also speaking by phone with The Eastleigh Voice on Wednesday, Katana added, "Fish and prawns take three to four months to be ready for harvest, and even then, their market is limited."

 

Grow with Us Africa Managing Director Kelly Banda in this picture taken on July 10, 2024. (Photo: Farhiya Hussein/EV)

In a separate interview, Kelly Banda, managing director of Gro With Us Africa, praised the community's commitment to the project, saying its success is due to their unwavering support.

“It’s a seven-year project aimed at mitigating the adverse effects of climate change along the coast. We are working closely with the Kidundu Mtongani group to restore mangrove forest cover and empower the community economically.”

Banda outlined plans to expand their conservation efforts.

“We plan to establish other conservation areas along the coastline, including in Maya Island, Watamu, Mombasa, and Diani in Kwale County. Our goal is to ensure communities along the coastline understand the importance of conserving mangrove forests and actively participate in these efforts.”

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