In Africa, one may have food but lack the fuel wood to cook it. This is mainly caused by the overwhelming dependence on fuel wood energy in both urban and rural communities and the rapid depletion of forests on the continent. The problem is further compounded by the lack of fast-growing seedlings to counter the demand. Kenya alone requires 60 million seedlings per year.
In an effort to respond to the this problem and in consultation with relevant stakeholders, a clonal tree project entitled “Tree Biotechnology Project” (TBP) was initiated in Kenya in 1997 and later in Uganda and Tanzania in 2000 and 2003, respectively. The project, now transformed into a Program Trust, has been ongoing since 1997 and aims to improve the socio-economic status of local communities through deployment of fast-growing multi-purpose trees while safeguarding the environment.
The project has been implemented in three main phases – technology acquisition and testing, ecological matching of clones and scaling out (commercialization) in the three East African countries, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The main project donor has been the Gatsby Charitable Foundation of the UK but since 2006, the Foundation rolled the administration of funds to its new outfit in East Africa – the Kilimo Trust. AfriCenter has been a partner in all the efforts in the tree biotechnology project and currently sits on the board of the Tree Biotechnology Programme Trust (TBPT).