MOOF has over the years endeavored to participate in community development entrepreneurs. We continue to devise programmes and green projects that bring the farmers together as well as ensure them economic stability through the Eco-Village strategy.
MOOF PERMA_ BIO ENTERPRISE PROGRAMME- Rose geranium essential oil project
Our most recent project is the MOOF Perma_Bio Enterprise Programme, which we commonly refer to as the Rose Geranium essential oil project. We seek to introduce rose geranium as a POLYCULTURE cash crop in a region with no other cash crop. The project involves local communities and our target is to have over 2,000 small scale farmers in five years
The project will operate across three zones (Nanyuki, Naromoru and Timau), of three bordering counties in Kenya; Laikipia, Nyeri and Meru. This region is about 1800-2100 M.A.S.L; on the lee ward side of Mt. Kenya receiving rain fall of about 800-1000mm per year and thus a semi-arid region. Most people here practice subsistence agriculture growing food crops such as maize and beans for their subsistence use, food which is barely enough to feed their families.
Generally the whole community in the region is not economically empowered. Children are not able to access good education due to lack of fees, men engage in excessive drinking and other destructive activities in the forests of Mt. Kenya ( A World Heritage Site) such as logging and charcoal burning just to try and make ends meet and women are worse off since they are lowly placed by the society and thus are not given enough opportunities to be economically independent even though they do most of the work in homes to manage and raise families.
The project seeks to tackle the problem of youth unemployment by recruiting young farmers into the programme and also by offering jobs within the enterprises structures, this will effectively end destruction of the forest and thus a plus in the fight against climate change. By creating a model where most families will have a steady source of income, enough food in the families, people will be able to afford good education for their children, women will be able to achieve more fulfilling livelihoods and generally the living conditions of the people will improve.
The Ksh 27 million project seeks to establish an enterprise which will become the leading producer of Rose geranium essential oil in Kenya and in Africa. Rose Geranium essential oil will be distilled from high quality foliage material of rose geranium crop (pelargonium graveolens) at the MOOF’s facilities. By strict and thorough execution of a well thought out business plan by a highly trained and competent management team the enterprise will generate revenue of well over Ksh 50 Million within three years from sales in geranium oil and to over Ksh 100 Millon in five years due to diversification of their products and expansion of its operations.
The project has already commenced with the propagation of 750,000 seedlings for the 100 farmers it targets for our out- grower scheme during its first year of operations. Recruitment, registration and training of the 100 farmers to be supplied with the seedlings will then follow. For MOOF the project is a sure way of selling Permaculture and Organic Farming Technologies to farmers since it not only advocates for food security but also emphasizes on economic sustainability.
Small scale farmers with land ranging from 0.1-1 ha are our main target. They will be encouraged to inter crop the geranium with suitable companion food crops. The farmers will also be trained on all aspects of organic farming so as to ensure that oil produced is purely organic and sold under Fair-Trade.
Income to farmers from sales of geranium foliage to MOOF will range from Ksh 1.2 M- Ksh 3.6 M per acre per year, a figure that not many crops grown in the region would give. MOOF will continue to expand the project to other regions while constructing schools, health facilities, bridges and offering college and university bursaries among other community empowering activities in the near future.
This is a long term project expected to transform the livelihoods of the local community in a major way.