Kenyan essential oil maker gets grant to promote forest conservation

KENYA – Horizon Business Ventures (HBV), a Kenyan manufacturer of essential oils has clinched US$145k grant from the Netherlands’ DOEN Foundation to enable it undertake its operations sustainably, focusing on forest conservation.

The funding comes at an opportune time when Kenya’s forest cover rate is only 5%, with a deforestation rate of 1.13% annually, according to Kenya Forestry Services.

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Since the country’s forests provide the principal origin for water, at this rate the country is feared to be a desert in only a little over a century.

HBV was founded to change this paradigm altogether as the company extracts essential oil biomass from wild grown trees such as leleshwa, eucalyptus, cedarwood, frankincense, baobab, marula and cape chestnut.

The company organizes local collecting groups, mostly women, to collect plant matter i.e. nuts and leaves in a sustainable way from products that previously held no commercial value.

From this it extracts the essential oils and uses the by-products to produce animal feed.

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Through this it has fostered community-based action to conserve and restore forests through circular entrepreneurship and shit their focus from cutting down trees and selling for charcoal or timber.

Horizon currently undertakes its operations on 300 hectares, with 150 part time staff.

Kenya’s forest cover rate is only 5%, with a deforestation rate of 1.13% annually.

The new project will benefit thousands of hectares of forest with the company targeting to expand to 3,000 hectares, with 1,500 collectors and 10 additional full-time staff, reports G&V.

To this end, deforestation will be reduced in the area by at least 40%.

Along with discouraging deforestation, the company promotes reforestation and planting initiatives around Mount Kenya, with 261,000 oil-bearing trees planted to date.

The DOEN Foundation is a Netherlands-based charitable entity whose aim is to add to the transition of a green and innovative economy where inspiring entrepreneurs contribute to a better world for people and the planet.

The companies it supports work actively to establish sustainable change in the whole production chain, from procurement to sales.

African companies conserving forests

Companies in the region are actively advancing their efforts in forest conservation to benefit the sustainability of future generations.

The Nestlé group recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Water and Forests of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire for the implementation of the CHF 3.34 million (US$3.5m) project aimed to conserve and rehabilitate the Classified Forest of Cavally, of which Nestlé is contributing CHF 2.5 million (US$2.6m).

The company’s CHF 2.5 million (US$2.6m) investment will finance efforts to end deforestation within the forest reserve triggered by Cocoa farming.

It will also support transition pathways for farmers currently producing in the reserve and promote regenerative agriculture for areas around the reserve.

In Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries Plc has commitment to inject N500 million (US$1.3m) over the next 10 years for the restoration of 500 hectares of Olokemeji Forest reserve in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The undertaking according to the brewery is in line with its sustainability agenda, driven through the Brewing a Better World (BaBW) initiative.

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