A green milestone: celebrating Kenya’s first agroforestry payouts

After extensive planting in Kenya, it was finally time for harvesting. In other words: celebrating the first payout for smallholder farmers, facilitated by our local partners Trees for Kenya and Farm Africa. Our account manager Margreet and trainee Anne witnessed this wonderful moment of celebration in the town of Embu.

A gathering of generations and minds

The ceremony brought together a diverse group of participants, uniting around 100 smallholder farmers from Trees for Kenya and Farm Africa, the local Reverend (who’s also a farmer), local government officials, school kids, and students and a professor specializing in soil from the University of Embu. Sat under tents adorned with balloons – bursting now and then from the heat – a lovely day of celebration ensued.  

This event highlighted everyone’s appreciation of the smallholder farmers and the shared commitment to combat climate change and promote the benefits of agroforestry.

Margreet Muizebelt, Account Manager Africa

More than money

The payouts, which happened via a mobile money service, were of course an important topic for the farmers. When we spoke to one of our local partners a week later – after having visited Nairobi to host a scaling workshop – he told us that one of the farmers called him up crying after the ceremony, thanking him for the opportunity and financial support. And the day was filled with so much more: laughter, songs, dances, speeches and even a special performance of a song tweaked for Acorn and agroforestry.

On the right, Paulino Mugendi from Trees for Kenya is giving a speech

Seeing is believing

The payment ceremony also provided tangible proof of the program's success and reliability. For many farmers, seeing is believing, and this event offered them the first concrete proof of the program's benefits. By celebrating this achievement and recognizing the farmers' contributions, we not only acknowledged their hard work but also inspired and motivated others within the community. Now it’s new farmers coming to our partners instead of the other way around. They’re drawn by the allure of the ceremony and what it represents. 

On the right, two farmers performing a self-written song for the group

Coffee and conversations on climate change

After the festivities, the Reverend invited us for coffee at his farm. Here, he shared observations on the changing climate and its effects on farming, emphasizing agroforestry’s pivotal role. His words connected the day’s joy with the serious undertones of our shared challenges. In line with this, inviting students and school kids was a deliberate choice – to ensure the urgency of climate action resonates across generations. The event served as a platform for spreading awareness and fostering a collective responsibility towards our environment. 

From competition to collaboration 

Something else worth mentioning was the emphasis on partnership and collaboration. Years ago, Trees for Kenya and Farm Africa found themselves in competition. But through facilitated discussions and shared goals, they have now formed a successful alliance, working together for the greater good of the Embu county and beyond.

On the right, Patrick Nyaga from Farm Africa addressing the crowd

A new chapter in agroforestry

In closing, this ceremony was not just a milestone for the farmers and our partners but a beacon of hope and a testament to what can be achieved when communities come together. It marks the beginning of a new chapter in agroforestry in Kenya, one where collaboration, education, and commitment to the environment pave the way for a greener tomorrow.

On the right, two farmers in the nursery, sorting out seedlings

About Acorn

We help support smallholder farmers in developing countries transition to agroforestry. Together with local partners, we facilitate the funding and training needed by farmers to start their agroforestry transition. Transforming the sequestered CO2 through agroforestry into Carbon Removal Units (CRUs), we offer carbon credits to responsible corporates to help them reach their climate goals. The growth of the trees is measured with satellite imagery, AI and LiDAR, and certified by ICROA-accredited Plan Vivo.

With 80% of the sales revenue going directly to the farmers, it creates an additional income stream and helps them adopt a more climate-resilient way of farming that improves food security, biodiversity, and financial independence.

Meet our people

Margreet MuizebeltAccount ManagerLinkedIn

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