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THE BETTER GLOBE WAY

Better Globes vision is to decrease poverty and corruption in Eastern Africa.

The best way to eradicate poverty in Eastern Africa is through planting trees. The environmentalist activist Wangari Maathai received the Nobel peace price in 2004 for planting trees in an area close to Nairobi. Leaders in Kenya has decided that 10% of the land in Kenya will be covered with forests by the year of 2030. International aid organisations have tried to plant trees and forests where the drought and deforestation is the worst and Better Globes specialist Jan has led many of this projects. Their biggest challenge is that it takes to much time. The aid organisations have difficulties with the financing until it’s time to fell the trees. That is why it’s important to make the forestry in a sustainable way. 

Better Globe genuinely believe in sustainability and long-term work. There are no quick-fixes and if you want to make a real change then you have to have a stable ground, a long perspective and win, win for everyone. 

Here you can see clearly the difference in vegetation

·      Win for the countries and communities where Better Globe work. More work opportunities, increased production, tax income and increased exports are all positive for the nations economy and gives more infrastructure to the small communities. Increased education gives a positive development over time.

·      Win for the environment. By planting fast growing hardwood forest of high quality reduces the need to cut down the rainforests. An average person in the western countries uses around 200 kg of wood every year and the supply is not enough. Around 48 football fields worth of forest are being cut down every minute on a global scale. By planting trees we can change the direction of the deforestation and make the environment better.

 

·      Win for us customers that buy trees. The return for us investors are relatively high compared with other investments that is decided beforehand. Since the return is decided and well calculated beforehand it’s not dependent on how the company is doing for every year. Better Globe has done their risk management and know that some years might be less harvest. It’s also important for Better Globe that costumers feel confident that their return will be paid as promised. Since the beginning Better Globe has kept their promises and paid return at the end of every year. Anyone can invest in trees since the smallest amount is €17. 

 

  

Sandra at the plantation in Kiambere 2017. 

Better Globe uses a completely different method that takes more time in the beginning but gives better long-term results. The way Better Globe works is that they get to know the locals first and see what they can do to better the lives in that particular area so that everybody wins. 

Better Globe started planting trees at the Kiambere dam where the electric company Ken-Gen has electric production. The area was extremely dry and Ken-Gen had big problems with the erosion that caused damages on the turbines. Close to the dam lived a little community of 5 houses where the locals try to survive with small scale farming. They started to work in the plantation with planting mukau-trees around the dam. Not long after that it was clear that the turbines didn’t need as much maintenance as before since the trees stopped the erosion. 

Once the trees are in place and rooted firmly in the ground, they cast a shadow, attract moisture and nutrients in the soil. As a thank you Better Globe was given a land of 5000 ha and free water from Ken-Gen. When it’s time for the first trees to be felled, Ken-Gen will provide land for Better Globe to process the trees as well. 

When we visited the plantation in Kiambere in 2017 the village had grown to 111 houses. Not everybody that live there work in the plantation. Many has moved there to start a business or farming and sell their goods and services to the employers in the plantation. 

The Kiambere plantation

Better Globe started their business very slowly and had thanks to that, economic possibilities to try different methods of planting in the semi-desert. Naturally they had problems with it and they have learnt many lessons over the years. For example all the goats that like to feed from the seedlings or one year when over a hundred plants was destroyed because hippos walked over the plantation.

It was relatively few plants so the economic damage wasn’t so big. Better Globe did not have security guards at this time but has now guards that protects the young trees from the wildlife. Better Globe has also tried planting different tree-species and that has taken some time. 

Asta and Jean-Paul at the plantation in Kiambere, 2017.

Better Globes founder, Rino and managing director, Jean-Paul have lived and worked in Kenya for many years. They recruited Jan and started planting trees in the semi-desert which was considered close to useless because of the drought.

 

No company had ever planted trees there before and few people believed that it would be possible to conduct any type of forestry there. Many foreign forestry-companies, most from China or other Asian countries, lease land which is used by locals for farming and start planting trees.

The locals that often has lived there for generations are forced to move and looses both their income and home. They are not given work in the plantations since the companies often bring their own workforce. This is what is called land-grabbing and is a huge problem in Eastern Africa. 

Naturally these companies are not so popular among the locals which sometimes try to burn down the forest or damages it in any way. Therefor the companies have big costs with surveillance.

Asta and Percilla, one of Better Globe out growers,Kenya 2015

Between the years of 2006 and 2013 Better Globe planted 350 000 trees. They used this time to figure out what tree-species was best and which way was the most sustainable to go. 

A new era started in 2015 when Better Globe wanted to help more people and be able to plant more trees. They signed contracts with local farmers to plant trees on their own land.

 

They also hired agriculturists that assists the farmers and help them succeed with the tree-planting and by the end of 2015, 50 farmers had signed a contract with Better Globe. A few years later around a thousand farmers plant Better Globe trees on their own farm. This makes it possible to plant three times as much trees than before and this year (2018) alone around a million trees is planted.

Agriculturist on motorcycles to be able to help farmers succeed with tree planting

Many farmers are showing interests in signing this contract with Better Globe. The reason why the farmers wants to sign the contract is because of many reasons: 

·      They plant the trees in addition to their other farming business. 

·      They plant crops and vegetables in between the trees which gives more harvest then before since the trees provide with moist, shadow from the sun and binds nutrients in the soil.

·      50% of the trees are given to the farmer.

·      Better Globe buy the other 50% of the trees for market price plus 10%

·      This helps the farmers to be independent.

Here is a interview with Simon Muli, a contract farmer with Better Globe.