Greening Africa starts in two villages: Vilima Vitatu with about 800 families and Sarame with some 400 families.
Families in these villages are extremely poor and environmental degradation is severe, as illustrated in the following pictures.
In spite of the apparent hopelessness of the situation of the families, we believe that reclaiming natural resources is an important opportunity which can make people relatively prosperous. Mr. Daniel Herman shows us how.
Mr. Daniel Herman discovered a great opportunityMr. Daniel Herman discovered a great opportunity
Many people now grow all sorts of crops. An example is Mr. Daniel Herman from Sarame. He grows maize. In good years, he told us, he’ll harvest 1.2 MT of maize from each hectare. This sells for TSh. 400,000. He estimates his production costs at TSh 170,000. Per hectare, he will be making TSh 230,000 in a good year.
Mr. Daniel Herman sold a 10-year-old Grevillea robusta tree, cutting it into 22 pieces, as he told us. He sold each piece for TSh 6,000. It means that he could sell one tree for TSh. 132,000. On one hectare, he could have about 270 such trees.
Instead of growing maize, Mr. Daniel Herman could plant trees. After 10 years, he would sell his trees for 270 x 132,000 = TSh 35’640,000. That is TSh 3’564,000 per year. The costs associated with growing trees are very low. Trees would bring Mr. Daniel Herman 15 times more than his maize crop, if he gets a good maize harvest every year, which is not the case.
Mr. Daniel now plans to grow Afzelia quanzensis and other tree species, which produce better, higher priced timber than Grevillea robusta.
Maize could produce much more per hectare than the 1.2 MT that Mr. Daniel Herman is making. However, yearly crops are so much more sensitive to climatic variations than trees. Asking farmers how often they have almost total crop failure, they answer one in two years. Their trees continue to grow, also in bad years.