Adoption of Tree Nursery Practices as Strategic Enterprise at Millenium Villages Project, Siaya County, Kenya
he Millenium Villages Project (MVP) in Siaya County (Kenya) was part of a cluster of villages in 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa established to catalyse the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with tree nursery enterprise as part of its key activities. This study was conducted to determine the level of adoption of tree nursery practices in the MVP Project. Exploratory survey involving purposive sampling of 31% households in the MVP and use of semi-structured questionnaires, interviews and focus group discussions was employed to collect data following validity and reliability tests. The resulting data were subjected to descriptive analysis using SPSS version 22 and differences between independent variables tested by Chi-square analysis ( =0.05). Marketability, growth performance and influence by the government and NGOs are the major factors that influenced the adoption of tree nursery enterprises at the millennium villages. The most preferred tree species were Cupressus lusitanica (66.9%), Eucalyptus grandis (56.4%) and Grevillea robusta (43.1%). Farmers were not able to propagate some preferred trees due unavailability of seeds (e.g. Grevillea robusta), lack of knowledge on vegetative propagation of the tree species (e.g. Casuarina equisetifolia), slow growth (e.g. Acacia nilotica), and seeds taking too long to germinate (e.g. Mangifera indica). Tree nursery operators in the region used locally-sourced seeds as a means of raising seedlings, without taking into consideration the genetic attributes of the germplasm used. Tree nursery enterprise at the millennium village has great potential as an economic venture, with a total net annual return of Ksh. 4, 976, 854.00 above total cost, translating into Ksh 27, 496.50 per capita at the village level. The most important challenges facing the adoption of tree nursery enterprise at the MVP are pests, scarcity of water and lack of adequate space for nurseries. This study recommends certification of tree nursery operators and development of tree germplasm tracking systems for quality assurance and marketing purposes as well as intensification of extension services and awareness campaigns for increased afforestation and attainment of at least 10% tree cover in Siaya County, and the rest of the Country.
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