Sylvi culture or Agro forestry as it is commonly known is a new farming method which is gaining momentum and being practiced widely in Kenya and the rest of the African countries. In kenya most people know it as "Shamba system" as well. This method of farming encompasses planting trees and crops at the same time, its profitable venture that ensures there is food security and at the same time generating income after a few years, thus providing the balance in food production and income at the same time.
Generally this type of farming involves planting legumes or maize in a tree plantation for few years before the canopies of the trees hoovers the crops thus avoiding them the sunlight thus maximum yields production.
It will depend on the type of trees being planted as some trees grow faster than the others and other slower.
For example planting crops together with eucalyptus trees this will call for 2 years only in planting the crops. For cypress which is a bit slower growing tree it might take 3- 4 years.
COMBINED INCOME: PLANTING OF TREES AND BEANS IN A 2 ACRE PIECE OF LAND
Labor / Material Cost
Ploughing 1 acre is Ksh. 3000 Ksh 6,000
Harrowing 1 acre is Ksh. 2000 Ksh 4,000
Irrigation 1 acre Ksh 3200 per month for 3 months Ksh 9,600
Weeding 1 acre (twice) Ksh. 2000 x 2 Ksh 4,000
Seeds 1 acre 15kgs x2 Ksh 4,000
Fertilizers 25kgs DAP 25kgs @ Ksh 1,500x2 Ksh 3,000
Harvesting 1 acre Ksh 2,000 Ksh 4,000
Miscellaneous expenses 1000 per acre Ksh 2,000
Total Expenses for one planting season Ksh 36,000
There are 8 planting seasons of beans in 2 years before the trees hoovers beans.
Cumulative Labor for this planting seasons with exception of harrowing will be Ksh 256,000
Selling one bag of bean averagely goes for 5,500 per bag.
1 acre produces 12 bags of beans normally. In this case production might reduce up to 8 bags per acre due to the space occupied by trees.
First planting season 8 bags x Ksh 5,500 = Ksh 44,000
For 2 acres 44,000 x 2 = Ksh 88,000
For 8 planting seasons is 88,000 x 8 = Ksh 704,000
Less Expenses 704,000 - 256,000 = Ksh 448,000 - harrowing 1st planting season Ksh 4,000
Profits for 2 years = Ksh444,000
In this segment the following labor costs wont be incurred as they have already been incurred above;
- Controlling weeds
Digging holes and planting 2,600 x 9 Ksh 23,400
Pruning 2,600 x 8 Ksh 20,800
Fertilizers C.A.N / N.P.K 100kgs @ Ksh 3,600 Ksh 3,600
Manures 1 acre Ksh 12,000 Ksh 24,000
Tree seedlings 1,300 trees Per acre @ Ksh 12 Ksh 31,200
Miscellaneous Expenses Ksh 5000 per acre Ksh 10,000
Total Expenses Ksh 113,000
2500 trees x 4,000 = 10,000,000
Less Expenses 113,000
Profits for 5 years 9,887,000
Combined profits of Beans farming and Timber investment = 9,887,000 + 444,000
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If we combine the profits of the above investments you will find that this type of farming is very profitable which we all should embark on.