Combating Invasive Proposis Juliflora ‘mathenge’ in Baringo South

The Ocean Youths Innovators embarked on a groundbreaking mission to Baringo County, a mission of learning more about the invasive Proposis juliflora locally called Mathenge and in turn replacing it with Gliricidia sepium a legume.

Ocean Youths Innovators geared up to champion environmental and climate change actions through innovation sought engagement with the local community through a reconnaissance visit of Baringo. The visit opened up a detailed understanding of ecological challenges posed by Mathenge on the natives of the area.

The mission entourage led by Zindzi Kwavayi, the organization’s resident scientist, and Rebecca Chepkemoi, the founder of Ocean Youths Innovators, with unwavering support from Prof Kipyamat, a local activist and CEO of the Baringo South Community Focus Group began with a communal approach.

In the Eldume Lororo location, the team met with the local farmers’ cooperative, who outlined bit by bit how ‘mathenge’ has been a nuisance citing its formidable thorns and voracious growth. Its quick growth has become a threat to the ecosystem and human life as it depletes the water sources, renders fertile lands it inhabits unusable, and changes the landscape.

Ocean Youths Innovators during an engagement with the community

 Having thorns and sweet pods filled with danger, the Mathenge thorns upon pricking cause festering wounds that might lead to amputation, and their pods when eaten by animals lead to their teeth falling hence starvation and low productivity.

Mathenge is invasive to say since it outcompetes the vegetation around it covering almost all the area while the community being pastoral largely depends on the vegetation for their animal’s food. The leguminous plant suggested for its replacement Gliricidia sepium, has multilayered benefits, inclusive of sustainable energy production and livestock fodder.

Farmers outrightly showed support for replacing the invasive ‘mathenge’ however doubt was wrought on how the replacement would be done effectively. The Ocean Youths Innovators sought to have a baraza community members in the Sandai Location.

Proposis Juliflora

The community members in Sandai seconded the idea of planting the leguminous gliricidia however, they raised concerns about the unknown response of the new plant in question. They voiced their anxieties about the introduction of another species, fearing unintended consequences on the delicate ecological balance. They were passionate about preserving their environment but wanted to ensure the new plant would be a welcomed guest in their ecosystem.

A matter that the group delved deeper into elaborating the means with which the replacement of the mathenge project would be rolled out upon testing and proving it would be best for the community. The visit would then end with a hopeful and promising future for the community toward solving the crisis amicably. The Ocean Youths Innovators came to a pact with the community of rolling out a pilot study before assigning the legume replacement eligibility.

The journey highlighted the magnitude of the task and the complex interplay between environmental conservation and community engagement. The beauty of Baringo County served as a powerful reminder of why this mission was so crucial—it aimed not only to combat the environmental challenges but also to uplift the lives of the people who call this region home.

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