Notes to broadcasters
Many species of high value trees can benefit farmers. Broadcasters can promote trees that help farmers to: Diversify Income, Enhance Productivity, Conserve Energy, Create a Healthy Environment, and Meet People’s Needs. You may want to consider programming that features a different agroforestry tree each week, or each month.
This script discusses the benefits of the calliandra tree (Calliandra calothyrusus) and the experience of a Kenyan farmer who is growing it. Calliandra is truly ‘multi-purpose’. It can be used as a high-quality fodder supplement for livestock, to improve soil fertility, for seed production, as bee forage, for fuelwood, for income generation from sale of seeds and seedlings, and for stakes for climbing beans and tomatoes. Please see notes at the end of the script for further information about calliandra and other multi-purpose trees.
CONTROL: FADE UP SIGN TUNE 5 SECONDS THEN UNDER.
CONTROL: SIGN TUNE 2 SEC THEN UNDER.
CONTROL: FADE UP SIGN TUNE 2 SEC THEN UNDER.
CONTROL: SIGN TUNE 2 SEC THEN UNDER.
CONTROL: SIGN TUNE 5 SECONDS THEN OUT.
- Contributed by Charles Ogada, Ugunja Community Resource Centre, Kenya.
- The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, the Kenya Forestry Research Institute and the International Center for Research Agroforestry collaborated with Mr. Fredrick Kinyua Mwaniki in his agroforestry work.
- Reviewed by Professor Helen Hambly Odame, Rural Extension Studies, University of Guelph, and by Professor Naresh Thevathasan, Temperate and Tropical Agroforestry Specialist, University of Guelph, Canada.
High value trees
Many kinds of high value trees are available to farmers. Here are some examples:
Fruit trees – mango, avocado, guava
Medicinal trees – moringa, neem
Fodder trees – sesbania, leucaena lucocephala, calliandra
Natural fertilizers (nitrogen fixing) trees – sesbania, leucaena, pigeon pea and calliandra
Alley cropping trees – calliandra and sesbania
Boundary marking trees – calliandra and sesbania
Erosion control trees – calliandra and leucaena leucocephala
Shade trees – mango, avocado
Timber trees – gravelia robusta, casuarinas
Trees that provide shelter and food for animals – gravelia for birds, calliandra nectar for bees.
The calliandra tree (Calliandra calothyrsus)
Calliandra calothyrsus originated in Central America and Mexico. It was introduced in Indonesia to provide shade in coffee plantations, but the tree has now proved more useful for other purposes such as fodder, fuel wood, and land reclamation. In many parts of the world including Kenya, calliandra cuttings are now used as fodder for grade dairy cows and other livestock. It’s valued for the protein it can provide when livestock are fed low quality roughage or when fed on grasses like Napier, which are often deficient in protein content. Calliandra also increases the butter fat content of milk.
In Kenya and Indonesia, calliandra has been planted on steep eroded slopes to provide stability and prevent landslides. It builds soil fertility as it fixes nitrogen. Although not pollinated by bees, calliandra can be a source of nectar for honey production. In Indonesia bees can produce one thousand kilograms of honey per year from one hectare of calliandra. It also supplies good fuelwood that dries well and burns rapidly.
Calliandra occurs naturally in some parts of the tropics at altitudes ranging from sea level to 1900 m and where the average annual rainfall is above 1000 mm. It can withstand dry seasons of two to four months with less than 50 mm rainfall a month. Calliandra can grow well in Kenya at elevations ranging from coastal lowlands to lower highlands, not exceeding 1900m above sea level.
How to grow calliandra
Grow calliandra in nursery beds that are one meter in width and three meters long. Apply manure to the beds; for every three meters of soil apply one 12 kilogram tin can or ‘debe’ of manure. Before planting, soak the seeds for two days. Make furrows about two centimeters deep (the distance between the end of your finger and your knuckle), and place the seeds in the furrows, covering them lightly with soil. Water the bed thoroughly after sowing. Continue watering three or four months until transplanting. Transfer calliandra seedlings to the field at the onset of rains when the soil has enough moisture and the rains are expected to continue for two months. The planting holes should be about 20 centimeters wide and 30 centimeters deep (this is about half the length of your jembe or hoe). In drier areas, the holes should be bigger than this to help retain more soil moisture. Use well-decomposed animal and compost manure mixed with fresh ash to improve quality. Add one 2 kilogram tin of ash to every one 12 kilogram tin can or “debe” of manure. Remove the seeds with some soil attached to their roots when transplanting. Place the seedlings upright in the prepared hole and fill the remaining space with a mixture of topsoil and manure. Compact the soil and manure to make the seedling firm.