The Community Land Bank is an innovation developed by Asante Kenya Foundation to make productive otherwise underutilized land on the south coast. There are two ways to “bank land” with Asante.
A community, which has land organized under “ranch associations” will donate land to the project. Asante provides the seedlings, pays for labor and other inputs, including tractors and water infrastructure needed for the project to succeed. Asante buys mature trees for further wood processing, returning 20% of the profits back to the community. Land is returned to the community after about 12 years with trees that will coppice and regrow into a beautiful forest, leaving a lasting legacy within the community.
Individual land owners or a group of small-holder farmers donate land (20 acre min) into the land bank with Asante for 6-15 years (owner retains title). Under a similar arrangement, Asante clears and plants land, deals with squatters, and improves the land by making it productive with trees and agricultural crops. At the end of the term, Asante returns the improved land to the owner(s), sharing 10%-20% of the profits from the project, depending on the arrangement and delivers a much higher value piece of land to the owner who can impact lives with their “donation”. Farmers would also be paid as laborers for Asante. Land is normally returned with trees on the land, enhancing value.
THE PORCON PERU STORY - OUR INSPIRATION
The Porcón Peru project is a true success story using forestry to lift an entire community out of poverty in less than a generation. Trees have raised incomes, created jobs, even changed the ecology in this poor region of the world. High in the Andes Mountains of Peru, the experiment began in the 1970’s when the community decided against selling their community land to the national government, and instead planted 13 million pine trees.
The community was skeptical at first, wondering if they would have to eat sticks to survive, but soon found that they would eat because of those sticks they planted. Their rule was to plant two trees for every one tree they cut down. And the community would share together the benefit when they harvested those trees 20 years into the future. Now brick homes have replaced mud huts, roads, businesses, restaurants have been built and the community has prospered. Even animals have come back to the forest. Money really does grow on trees.