A conservation group in Kilifi County is reaping big from the sale of mangrove seedlings.
The Kidundu Mtongani conservation self self-help is making at least Sh10.5 million annually from the venture. The seedlings are at the same time used to restore mangrove forest cover in the area
Kidundu-Mtongani Conservation group chair Stephen Chivatsi said the efforts have been made possible with the support of Gro With Us a Non-governmental organisation.
The group, which has 30 members, has so far managed to restore 500 acres o mangrove plantation in Kidundu village.
Chivatsi said besides helping to mitigate the effects of climate change, the restoration and enriching of the mangrove ecosystem helps to fight poverty in the community by generating new income avenues.
Speaking in Kidundu Village After planting more than 10,000 Mangrove seedlings, Chivatsi said 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 permanently, ” he said.
Chivatsi said the revenue from the sale of mangrove seedlings has not only enhanced conservation works but also helps in the initiation of development programmes like access to medical health care, access to clean water and education.
“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,” said Chivatsi.
He noted that since they got the support of the NGO in 2019, the proceeds from the mangrove seedlings selling hashaveubled.
Jesca Katana, a 30 years old member, said their conservation efforts have greatly changed their lives.
She said despite the group taking part in fishponds and prawn rearing, their sales inputs are too small compared to the sales of mangrove seedlings.
“Fish and prawns take 3 to 4 months to be ready for harvest and even their market is low compared to the sales of mangrove seedlings,” she said.
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.
He said his organization is working with Mtongani -Kidundu group to restore mangrove forest cover and empower the community economically.
He said it is a 7 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 the tent in Maya Island and Watamu and then will go to Mombasa and Diani in Kwale County,” he said Kidundu-Mtongani chairman Stephen Chivatsi.