Why Not Grow Your Money on Trees

Harris Mungai By Harris Mungai, 1st Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2hq16cgy/
Posted in Wikinut>Business>Starting A Business

As earnings from traditional food crops like maize and beans dwindle,tree farming has offered some people a fresh opportunity to keep cash flowing into their pockets.

This is a Unique Business Idea

Jacktone's love for nature is evident as one enters his home.The home is awash with trees of various species at different stages of growth. While he has grown some of the trees for aesthetic purposes,majority of them are for sale. The farmer has on three-and -a-half acres about 4,500 assorted trees that include eucalyptus (blue gum) which are used to make poles. The trees mature in five to seven years after transferring them from the nursery.
He sells each at between $35 and $70 depending on the size.While eucalyptus is his mainstay,other trees and seedlings that he grows are cypress,kei apple,causurina,gravellia,bisovia,bottle brush white,yellow and red,jatropha,jacaranda and tithonia.According to the farmer,eucalyptus is the fastest growing exotic tree and has the highest demand. He has three eucalyptus nurseries and in each he has planted a kilo of the seedlings,which produce between 5,000 and 6,000 seedlings. The farmer has 20 nurseries in total that host over 400,000 tree seedlings of different species. He sells the seedlings from $10 to &15 dollars depending on the size and type.

Different Species of Trees

Gravevellia seeds are the most expensive,according to the farmer. Just as for eucalyptus, a kilo of gravellia seeds go for $35 at the market where he buys them. The farmer planted a kilo of them in two nurseries ad he now expects about 6,000 in six weeks. Jacktone,who engages in the business under the name Green Habitation,which he has registered as a community based organisation,started the venture in 2007 having retired as a chemistry and biology teacher in 2006.
To start he invested $500,part of his retirement package,which he used to buy seeds and prepare the farm. He followed in the footsteps of his cousin, who had been planting tree seedlings for years. Tree farming is far much better than maize,which is the main crop here.Although he also plants maize and keep animals,they don't bring him much.
Jactktone,who makes an average of $300 dollars a month from selling mature trees and seedlings,says earnings from the venture are higher than those from food crops.You can raise 100,000 tree seedlings on half an acre. If you sell each at $10,you easily make a million dollars in less than a year.But for maize,you get five to ten bags from half an acre.At about $25 a bag,you will be lucky if you earn $500 per season. He sells the tress and seedlings to schools,hospitals,individuals and the county government buys regularly for its various activities.

A Venture Worth Investing In

The farmer,who sells at least 10,000 in a month and has employed five workers,has now joined hands with his cousin David,who has 80,000 trees,to start an initiative dubbed Retire with Trees,which encourages retirees to venture into tree farming." We identify high value trees and mobilise farmers to plant them for sale through the organisation" he says.
The chemical engineering graduate says the challenges in the sector include diseases such as wilting and pests. Insects like scout beetles can decimate acres of young eucalyptus trees. Market for mature trees is also a challenge. Currently they rely on tree merchants (brokers) who buy from them and sell elsewhere at a higher price.
Trees are economically viable,particularly in hilly areas. Advice to farmers is to do a comparison of the yield they would get when they plant a tree or any other food crop like say on a space of about an acre and then decide. Tree farming is also viable when done alongside other activities such as dairy animal production.
Eucalyptus fetches higher price because of its vast uses that include in energy and construction sectors.However,he warns that when planted near rivers or streams,the tree can dry the water body in a few years. You can never reclaim the soil fertility if you plant eucalyptus on your farm.Causurina is one of the best tree species as it doesn't degrade the soil.

Trees provide a good habitation for birds,and beautify a farm or home. They help in carbon reduction and clean the air. When still young,trees need plenty of fertiliser or manure. The seeds are first planted in a nursery,then transferred to the farm where they are planted 3m apart. Weeding is crucial for the first two year to avoid ending up with stunted or weak trees. And most importantly, one should identify market before going into the business.

Tags

Money Making, Money Making Ideas, Money Making Tips

Meet the author

author avatar Harris Mungai
I developed an interest in writing when I was in elementary school and since then this passion keeps on burning in me.Thank you Wikinut for this chance to express myself here.

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Comments

author avatar Carol Roach
1st Feb 2015 (#)

I tried a business of selling products I ended up putting more money into it then getting back

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
2nd Feb 2015 (#)

The returns take a few years to come through and once it starts it is constant maintenance to keep the crop having the same bounty.
None the less, you need constant vigil, proper irrigation, vegetation care and exploring of other vegetation possibilities for income generation.
But you do get loans none the less when you are into agriculture and at a very low Rate of Interest.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
2nd Feb 2015 (#)

BTW, money does grow on trees, paper is made from trees and that is what brings forest degradation too.

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author avatar Retired
2nd Feb 2015 (#)

Great article. Money is always needed.

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author avatar Harris Mungai
2nd Feb 2015 (#)

Well said Ayianna,thank you for the comment.

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author avatar Harris Mungai
2nd Feb 2015 (#)

Well said Ayianna,thank you for the comment.

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author avatar Harris Mungai
2nd Feb 2015 (#)

Thanks Carmen.

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author avatar Harris Mungai
2nd Feb 2015 (#)

Thank you Shamarie.

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author avatar Retired
3rd Feb 2015 (#)

You're welcome.

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