Are commercial trees growing in Kenya profitable? In this post, we give you the secrets of tree farming you should know.
Tree planting is a profitable agribusiness idea providing jobs and income for millions of Kenyans. Tree planting has 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.
To tap into it financially, you can practice commercial tree growing as outlined below. You can jump to any section below.
What is commercial Tree farming?
Commercial tree farming in Kenya involves the cultivation of trees for the purpose of sale and wealth creation. It is seen as a means to bridge the wood deficit in Kenya, increase forest cover, and alleviate pressure on natural forests. You can make huge profits by agroforestry, reforestation, and afforestation.
Commercial tree farming is a profitable remote farming idea for the telephone, couch, and farming Kenyans in the diaspora. There is no limit to the types of trees that you can choose to farm for fuel, industrial, ornamental, medicinal, or fodder uses.
To decide on the best, consider estimating the cash each tree can give you as well as the time it will take to return the investment.
Types of Commercial Trees Growing
There are various types of commercial tree farming you can practice, they include large plantations, agroforestry, and commercial forestry. The listing below explains these commercial farming methods you can try.
- Timber Trees Plantations, Timber plantations involve cultivating trees with the primary goal of harvesting and selling timber. Common species include softwood or hardwood varieties with desirable timber characteristics, catering to industries such as construction and furniture.
- Agroforestry, Agroforestry integrates tree cultivation with other agricultural activities, promoting a symbiotic relationship between trees and crops or livestock. It aims to provide diverse benefits, including shade, fodder, and improved soil health, with a focus on producing timber, fruits, nuts, and non-timber forest products.
- Christmas Trees Farms, Christmas tree farms specialize in growing trees for the seasonal market during the holidays. These farms cultivate evergreen species with appealing shapes and foliage, targeting consumers seeking live or harvested Christmas trees for decoration.
- Bioenergy Plantations, Bioenergy plantations focus on cultivating fast-growing trees for biomass and bioenergy production. Species like eucalyptus or poplar, with high biomass yield, are grown to supply wood chips or pellets for bioenergy generation.
- Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) Plantations, Non-timber forest product plantations emphasize growing trees for items other than timber, such as fruits, nuts, resins, or medicinal plants. The goal is to supply a diverse array of non-timber products to various markets.
- Carbon Sequestration Plantations, Carbon sequestration plantations involve planting trees to capture and store carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change mitigation. Species with high carbon sequestration potential are chosen, and participation in carbon offset programs or trading carbon credits is a key aspect.
- Landscaping Trees and Ornamentals, Landscaping trees and ornamental farms grow trees valued for their aesthetics, including flowering or uniquely foliated species. These trees and seedlings are sold to landscapers, garden centers, or individuals for decorative purposes.
- Windbreak and Shelterbelt Plantations, Windbreak and shelterbelt plantations focus on planting trees to protect crops, livestock, or infrastructure from wind and soil erosion. Dense and wind-resistant species are chosen to provide windbreak services to agriculture or to sell as windbreak trees.,
Which Trees can make you the most money in Kenya?
In the list below, we give you the top categories of the most profitable trees you can grow in Kenya with examples. In separate posts, you can read about the best fruits, ornamental, medicinal, and fodder trees to grow in Kenya.
|Types & Examples||Explanation|
|Timber Trees |
e.g; Pine, Eucalyptus, Cedar,
|Timber trees in Kenya are fast-growing and can be harvested for their wood, bark, and leaves, making them profitable for commercial timber production|
|Fruit Trees |
e.g Avocado, Mango & Pawpaw, citrus
|Fruit trees are grown for their high demand and can be profitable cash crops in Kenya for farmers due to the popularity of their produce in local and international markets|
|Ornamental Trees |
e.g Christmas trees, Bonsai & Thika palm tree
|The best compound trees in Kenya are cultivated for their aesthetic appeal and are often used for landscaping and decorative purposes.|
|Medicinal Trees e.g Neem,|
Moringa & Kassod
|The medicinal trees in Kenya are cultivated for their medicinal and health benefits. These trees can offer commercial opportunities in the herbal and pharmaceutical industries|
|Animal Fodder e.g Leucaena,|
Acacia, calliandra, casuarina &
|Grown to provide feed for livestock. This type of tree farming contributes to sustainable livestock management of fodder farming and preservation|
|Indigenous Trees e.g Olive|
Acacia & fig trees
|Planted for their ecological and cultural significance. While not as extensively commercialized, indigenous tree farming contributes to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem restoration efforts|
How to choose the most profitable trees for your farm
In commercial tree farming, the 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 the agriculture office to compare maturity periods for different tree species.
- Popularity; Grow the trees that have a high demand in timber yards, factories, or furniture stores. These will give you a ready market once you harvest them.
- Use; Grow a tree that is multi-purpose and can be used for different uses like making firewood, feeding livestock, fencing poles, and timber
Which are the best areas to practice commercial tree farming
In Kenya, the potential areas for commercial tree farming are diverse, encompassing private lands, rangelands, and suitable grasslands, with a particular emphasis on the vast arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) regions.
- Ranches and Rangelands planting trees alongside your livestock can bring in extra income and make your land more productive. Trees help keep the soil in place, preventing erosion and making your land healthier in the long run.
- Private Lands, Individual farmers, schools, and companies can establish and manage tree plantations with autonomy. Selling timber and forest products to markets can contribute to the profits of your ventures.
- Suitable Grasslands, Integrating tree planting in these areas enhances biodiversity, supports ecosystem services, and offers an environmentally sustainable approach to land use.
- Arid and Semi-Arid Ares (ASAL), Drought-resistant tree farming in dry areas can bring in money, help fight climate change, and provide new ways for you to make a living beyond just raising animals.
These diverse landscapes align with economic, environmental, and climate resilience goals. Government support, policy incentives, and community-based initiatives further enhance the feasibility and success of tree-planting ventures in these areas.