Biodiversity / Food / Water

March 28, 2007


Japanese NGO Involved in Clay Ball Afforestation Project in Kenya

Keywords: Ecosystems / Biodiversity NGO / Citizen 

The Yokohama Art Project, a Japanese non-profit organization (NPO), has been involved since 2005 in the Rainmaker Project, a project for recovering vegetation in Kenya using clay balls that contain plant seeds. The goal of this project is to transform African dry land into the land filled with trees and plants with more rain fall. Yokohama Art Project was established in 2001 to vitalize people and communities through art activities by citizens. Considering this greening activity as a type of art to help create a brighter future, the NGO is actively working on the Rainmaker Project.

The idea for the project came when Mr. Ryuji Enokida, head of the organization, was talking with a friend who had visited Africa. The friend described the state of desertification in Africa and told him that vegetation covering an area of 10 square kilometers or more can cause rainfall. Afforestation using clay balls was developed by Mr. Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese farmer who is promoting natural farming. The clay balls are made by mixing clay soil, water and seeds, forming small balls, and drying them before sowing. In this way, the seeds in the clay balls are protected from drying out and also from small animals that eat seeds.

In March 2006, the NGO staff and local people began scattering the clay balls in a one hectare semi-desert area. The results were better than expected; not only did the seeds in the clay balls germinated, but also dormant native seeds were activated as a result of the environmental change. A second sowing was carried out in September 2006 in four areas, for a total of eight hectares. The sowing program is to be continued twice a year just before the rainy season (March and September).

The NGO is also making a documentary film about its greening activities. After the film is completed around July 2007, any profits will be used for the Rainmaker Project. As the project is highly appreciated by local people, it is expected to continue for an extended period of time.
- Japanese Farmer-Philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka: Natural Farming Greening the Deserts

Posted: 2007/03/28 03:15:04 PM
Japanese version

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