on May 07, 2013
Komaza is excited to share photos of our current April 2013 planting season. This season we embark on planting our first 10 mahogany (melia volkensii) tree farms. We are diversifying beyond our flagship eucalyptus into this indigenous, drought-resistant, termite-resistant tree. It has been a difficult tree to germinate from seed and our Nursery team had gotten frustrated. Nonetheless, diligently experimenting with new techniques since October 2012, they’ve finally “cracked the nut” and achieved germination success rates above 90% (higher than any previously established rate in the industry)! The nursery germinated enough seeds to plant 196 trees on each farm. We share with you the planting day pictures from the first farm.
Melia volkensii requires larger potting soil bags than eucalyptus seedlings so we used these wooden crates to transport the seedlings to the farm.
The truck was loaded with both eucalyptus seedlings and the wooden crates of melia volkensii.
Field Officer in Mwahera location, Francisco Mwayele, shows the farmer, Raphael Wepukulu, how to carefully remove the potting bag from the roots of the seedling.
The farmer’s wife, Ruth Nafula Kundu, receives instruction from Mwahera sub-location Facilitator, Thomas Mwananje, on how to remove the seedling with care.
Francisco and Raphael place the first seedling into the ground.
Thomas and Raphael fill the hole with dirt and pack it firmly around the seedling.
Raphael gives the new seedling plenty of water.
Raphael and Ruth are proud to be the first Komaza farmers to successfully plant a melia volkensii farm. They have done such a good job with their eucalyptus trees (as seen in the background) that Komaza was happy to give them an opportunity to plant melia volkensii.
on Feb 20, 2013
In 2011 Komaza executed a trial tree-thinning operation with a handful of farmers in Tezo. We knew the trees would re-grow as coppices after cutting them and that’s indeed what’s been happening for 2 years. Some of the coppices are already as tall as the original trees! The following photo shows one of our Tezo farmers, Pahe Kaingu, standing next to her original trees planted in 2008.
Komaza thinned 30% of her farm and she is pictured standing next to some of those thinned trees.
This farmer made use of her coppices by cutting some and building a new house for herself.
She built the pictured mud house 3 months ago. The house features palm frond roofing and mud walls.
But a close-up of the mud walls reveals that the mud is attached to wood framing. The wood framing is the coppiced Komaza trees! Quite an impressive feat of engineering, don’t you agree?!
on Jan 30, 2013
Last week I paid a visit to several 2012 farmers to check on tree growth since October planting. The region has received good rainfall since October so I was hoping to find happy & healthy trees. I was not disappointed. I joined the Kauma/Jaribuni team at a farm in Chonyi which was planted on October 14, 2012. The tallest trees on the farmer’s plot have already reached midriff height, as you can see below, after only 3 months.
And lest this be thought an isolated farm in an isolated spot, we also visited a farm in Mtsara Wa Tsatsu where the climate is significantly drier albeit only 30 miles away from Chonyi. This farm also features trees reaching to midriff height. And notice the cowpeas inter-cropped on this Mtsara Wa Tsatsu farm. The cowpeas we provide serve three functions: as weed control for the trees, as an extra source of food, and as a short-term income-generating cash crop for the farmers.
on Jan 29, 2013
Komaza is excited to announce that we have partnered with Kiva to help lift our rural farmers out of poverty. Of the 10 Kiva profiles we have posted, each was funded in less than 2 days– faster than we ever imagined! These loans are going like hotcakes. Check out this link to see one of our fully-funded farmer groups on the Kiva website or see below for a screen shot from the website. We will continue to post more farmer profiles as they are ready, but supplies don’t last long so hurry if you’d like to participate in uplifting these farmers with us in our April, 2013 planting season.