Which trees can make you fast money in Kenya

Are you looking for the most profitable trees to grow in Kenya? Commercial tree farming is a profitable agribusiness idea providing jobs and income for millions of Kenyans. In this post, we give you a listing of the best trees which can give you fast money. They include fruit trees, fodder crops and timber trees.

Trees planting have many benefits for you. Apart from improving your surroundings, they provide food and shelter for humans, birds and animals. They are a source of biofuels, industrial raw materials and the furniture and construction industry. Besides, forests reduce soil erosion, desertification and flooding.

Read Next: Can you grow money on Trees

Trees growing on a hill
Planting tree has many benefits. They provide food, shelter, incomes and improve our surroundings.

Commercial Tree FarmingĀ 

Is commercial tree farming a profitable agribusiness? You can make huge profits in Kenya by growing fruit trees like avocado or mangoes in sustainable agroforestry for small-scale farmers. Tree farming is a top agribusiness idea for “telephone/ couch farmers”, and Kenyans in diaspora. There is no limit for the types of trees that you can choose to farm for fuel, industrial, ornamental, medicinal or fodder uses.

To make a decision for the best, consider estimating the cash each tree can give you as well as the time it will take to return the investment.

How to select best trees for your farm

In commercial tree farming, tree maturity period, demand and uses for the trees are key factors to consider. To select the very best for fast and high profits, here is how to approach the decision.

Maturity; Plant the the fast-growing types. These will be ready for harvest and sale in a few years from planting. Consult with agriculture office to compare maturity periods for different tree species.

Popularity; Grow the trees which have a high demand in the timber yards, factories or furniture stores. These will give you a ready market once you harvest them.

Use; Grow a tree which is multi-purpose and can be use for different uses like making firewood, feeding livestock, fencing poles and timber.

In the list below, we give you a category of the most profitable trees to grow in Kenya with examples.

  • Fast growing timber trees e.g. pine, eucalyptus, pine, cedar
  • Profitable Indigenous trees e.g. bamboo and Meru oak, podo & croton
  • Fruit trees e.g. Avocado, Mango, Pawpaw etc.
  • Ornamental trees e.g. Christmas, bonsai and palm trees
  • Medicinal trees e.g. Neem, Moringa and Kassod
  • Fodder trees e.g. Leucaena, acacia

Best trees for timber in Kenya

Looking for the best fast growing timber trees in Kenya? You will farm these species to harvest and sell them in a few years. You can start thinning them in 3-4 years as mature electric and fencing poles. in 10-30 years you can harvest some of the best timber for most expensive furniture in Kenya.

The best timber trees in Kenya include the hardwoods and softwoods.

Softwood comes from coniferous species and other exotic tree species in Kenya They grow quickly and the wood is lighter, has coarser grain and is not as strong as most hardwoods.

  • Eucalyptus
  • Grevillea
  • Cypress
  • Pine
  • Cedar
  • Podo

Hardwoods are heavy, strong and stable. They are used predominantly for piers, flooring, decking and in most timber furniture. The best ones in Kenya are;

  • Meru Oak
  • Mahogany
  • Camphor
  • Elgon Teak

Eucalyptus (Blue gum) trees

Commercial tree farming is equated to growing the eucalyptus trees. It is the most popular tree in any region of the country that receive adequate rainfall. They are unpopular in dryer areas since they can cause aridity given their high water intake. The blue gum trees are very profitable given their many uses. The 3-5 years old are ready for firewood, poles, posts and fencing. You can harvest the 8-15 year old for electricity transmission poles and pulp. The older ones of 15-20 are best for timber.

There are several species of the tree that your farm, the most common ones are the grandis (Blue gum), saligna, globulus, paniculata, and camandulensis, and some hybrid species.

Grevillea (mukima)

The Grevillea is the number one multi-purpose tree in Kenya. You can use its mature straight trunks for saw timber, firewood, and poles. Farmers can use it in agroforestry applications for animal fodder, bedding for livestock and making compost fertilizer given its nutrient rich leaves. Since the tree does not cause aridity, you can grow it for shade in tea and coffee plantations. By growing the Mukima or mubariti tree, you can convert your $ 0.1 seedling into a roughly $15 in a period of around six years. The Grevillea trees are ornamental and will give your homestead and perimeter fence a nice rich look.

Cypress

 commercial trees farming in Kenya
Commercial exotic trees (cypress) plantation

Cypress tree farming in Kenya is one of the most lucrative agribusiness idea. Its best planted for timber, building poles and industrial use to make paper pulp. The trees grow to a height of 40 m and you can use its pruned branched for firewood. Besides you can plant its on the fence to make well manicured life fence.

Pine (Casuarina)

Pine trees in Kenya are one of the most valuable tree for commercial tree farmers. The whispering or whistling pine tree is commonly known as the Casuarina equisetifolia.

It is one of the most fastest growing commercial trees in the country. Its grown for its fencing posts, fuel and charcoal. Its other more commercial uses are furniture, posts, fodder, mulch (the dry pines), soil stabilization, tanning, dye, constructions poles, and, landscaping and boat building.

Cedar

The Cedar trees have a longer maturing period than other exotic trees listed in the article. They are suitable for afforestation. It has high-quality timber and posts. As one of the best ornamental trees, you will better plant them lining the driveway and fences. They got an excellent windbreak ability and are more suitable on large pieces of property to make a living hedge or fence. They grow fast and can be found in a wide range of climate zones of the country

Best indigenous trees to plant at home in Kenya.

Are you looking for the best trees to plant at home in Kenya. The Indigenous and ornamental trees like the Nandi Flame will give you many benefits. Apart from giving your home that classy look, you will enjoy their beauty, shade and other benefits like fruits. Though the best choice will depend on your location you can consider the following types.

Bamboo trees

Bamboo have many varieties and uses. You can grow and sell it as a potted plant for landscaping. Its mature trees are sturdy for construction, furniture and fencing.  Besides, it makes organic apparel whose fibre is non-allergic to make the comfiest bamboo bedding like bamboo duvets and comforters. You can grow it from cuttings or seedlings. The bamboo tree is a prolific vegetation, a single seedling can produce around 60 young shoots in about 3-4 years.

A path inside bamboo trees or forest
Bamboo trees have many uses in building and making organic non-allergic fibre.

Meru Oak

Meru Oak is popularly known as the Muhuru tree in Kikuyu. It is the most valuable in making indoor and outdoor home and office furniture. Its wood resembles the valuable teak tree timber. Apart from furniture and decorative veneers, Muhuru is a good source of firewood and beams. Its over exploitation in its natural forests has led to its near extinction giving you reasons to farm it.

Podo

Podo is also known as the yellowwood. Its blocks locks are fairly hard, without scent, and does not chip easily.  These qualities make podo tree products the best choice for making boats, ships Besides, the tree has many uses in construction, flooring, joinery, interior trim, vehicle bodies, railway sleepers, toys, novelties, agricultural implements, musical instruments, coffins, food containers, vats, carving, pattern making, matches, turnery, hardboard and particle board. It is also used as fuelwood, and it is considered a high-quality pulpwood.

Croton-Mukinduri

The croton tree is found in all parts of the country both rainy and arid. Its commonly grown for its magnificent shade fuel and and building poles. However, its seeds are what makes the tree a possible replacement of coffee and other cash crops. The croton nuts are a rich source of oils that are a key ingredient of livestock and poultry feed production. There are various companies in Kenya that champion croton tree farming  as a sustainable and excellent source of biofuel.

Nandi frame

The Nandi flame is a common ornamental tree in most compounds among the rich. It will make your home bright with its reddish-orange or crimson (rarely yellow), campanulate flowers. Besides, the Nandi frame tree products are used for carving timber, food, poison and antiseptic medicine. Its seeds, flowers and bark extracts is used as a laxative. Besides, you can plant it to rehabilitate disturbed lands through its quick invasion and rapid growth.

Acacia species

The acacia tree species are hardy and do extremely well in drylands of Kenya. They are multipurpose trees and you can use then for Firewood, timber, charcoal and poles. Its edible pods are used for medicine and its an important fodder crop among the pastoralist communities. They use its pods and leaves to feed the browser livestock especially goats and camels. Its a nice bee forage, a shade tree and has ornamental, dune fixation, nitrogen fixation, and soil conservation uses. Finally, you can use acacia tree for live fences to keep livestock, wild animals and people from your farm.

Sandal wood

There is a reason sandal wood is the most smuggled timber in the region. It can be made into sandal oils, powder and other quality wood products making its growing illegal in some countries like India and Kenya. The sandalwood mature for harvest in 15 years.

To choose the best tree for your ecological zone, use the Infonet Biovision guide. It has information on the soil, climate, the tree uses and the expected maturity.

Legume Fodder Trees

Related: Most profitable fruit trees to grow in Kenya

A picture of Legume fodder trees

You will farm these trees as livestock fodder or a source of making green fertilizers in organic farming settings. Leguminous trees are a source of timber, human food and natural medicine. Besides, plant them for green fertilizers, windbreakers, or an attraction for bees and other pollinators. The best or the most nutritious fodder trees you can grow in your farm for sale are; Leucaena, acacia, calliandra, casuarina and Sesbania.

As an individual, business or charity, you can plant commercial trees for profits. Besides, you can take place in the national tree planting days as a CSR activity to push for a high forest cover. You will make more money by adding the value of the trees. It can be by lumbering and making poles, timber or firewood. Other methods are selling seedlings.

Samuel S.K.

S.K is the founder and senior agribusiness development consultant at Agcenture. He can be reached at info@agcenture.com

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4 Responses

  1. Julie says:

    An insructive piece.

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    […]  Commercial tree farming. Plant fast-maturing and marketable trees used in building, carpentry and fencing. Once they mature, harvest, sell and plant new seedlings. The best choice trees for timber, fuel and poles blue are Eucalyptus, cypress and Cedar. However, the choice may change depending on your ecological region. […]

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