Nature Kenya and local communities learn that an Italian company plans to grow Jatropha curcas in the Dakatcha area. This is welcomed by the County Council of Malindi. Details are difficult to come by.
A consultant starts work on an Environmental Impact Assessment for the Jatropha project.
Local community members go to court to stop the Jatropha project
Kenya Jatropha Energy Limited (KJEL) starts cutting down forest in Dakatcha Woodland. Nature Kenya writes to the Environment Minister calling upon him to stop the destruction of the woodland. The Kenyan National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) announces that the Environmental Impact Assessment EIA is available for stakeholders' comments as KJEL continues with destruction of forest
1 April 2010
KJEL is reportedly issued with a stop order by NEMA Provincial Director of Environment
21 April 2010
The community court case is heard in the Malindi High court. Lawyers from the community and KJEL disagree. Case hearing postponed till further notice.
Nature Kenya, the East African Wild Life Society and the RSPB submit objections to the Jatropha project to the Kenyan National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA)
20 May 2010
A public hearing is held in Dakatcha on the Jatropha project. It emerges that the consultative process was flawed and key agencies including the Kenya Forest Service and Kenya Wildlife Service were left out
9 June 2010
Malindi District Environment Committee hold a meeting at which the County Council of Malindi and Provincial Administration propose to allocate 32,000 ha of land held in trust for the community - 10,000 ha will be for conservation, 10,000 ha for human settlement and 10,000 ha for Jatropha. The County Council proposes to hold the title to this land, which by law belongs to the communities
21 June 2010
Nature Kenya and other conservation organizations hold a press conference in Nairobi to object to the KJEL project in Dakatcha
2 July 2010
Journalists, Nature Kenya staff, KWS staff and local people are attacked by KJEL workers at the Jatropha project in Mulunguni, Dakatcha Woodland
6 July 2010
Nature Kenya hold another press conference to condemn the attack
7 July 2010
Nature Kenya writes to the Environment Minister on the ongoing destruction of Dakatcha and the attack on its staff, journalists, KWS staff and local people
7 July 2010
Dr. Marco Lambertini, the Chief Executive of BirdLife International, writes to the Kenyan Environment Minister the Hon. John Michuki expressing serious concerns about the proposed Jatropha project
9 July 2010
Good news – the Kenyan National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) reject the KJEL project. However, the letter advises the developer to redesign and scale the project down to pilot level therefore leaving a door open for the project to re-emerge
Nature Kenya write to NEMA welcoming the rejection of the project as initially proposed, but expressing concern about the potential pilot. BirdLife, EAWLS and RSPB also write to NEMA supporting Nature Kenya's position
KJEL submit a proposal for a 10,000 ha pilot project to NEMA. Nature Kenya meet the Kenyan Environment Secretary and discuss the Dakatcha project. It emerges that the Italian parent company of KJEL supplies Ikea with biofuels and therefore that Ikea could be a customer for Jatropha oil grown at Dakatcha
27 September 2010
Kenya's Environment Minister the Hon. John Michuki visits the Dakatcha Woodland to see the site and meet stakeholders. The local Member of Parliament (MP) and Fisheries Minister Amason Kingi, the NEMA Director General, Environment Ministry Permanent Secretary and other NEMA officers accompany him. The County Council of Malindi and the provincial administration and Nature Kenya are also present as are many people from the local communities. The stakeholders were invited to make comments, Serah Munguti presented Nature Kenya's position. Positively, the Minister asked the County Council of Malindi to develop a multiple land use plan and zone all forested areas for conservation. He also stated that if KJEL want to go ahead with their project they must provide his office with scientific evidence that Jatropha is commercially viable in Dakatcha and that it is not harmful to people and the environment. The meeting receives extensive coverage in the Kenyan media
Nature Kenya awaits NEMA's final decision on the proposed pilot project. We work with Nature Kenya to commission a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of the proposed project to examine its potential carbon implications
RSPB and other European BirdLife Partners write to Ikea asking about their links to the Dakatcha project
RSPB staff visit Dakatcha woodlands. Our hosts for the visit are Dominic Mumbu – Nature Kenya's man on the ground and Patrick Changawa, the energetic Chair of the site support group (SSG) with which Nature Kenya are working to explore sustainable ways of generating money for local people. We visit the new resource centre and library and processing unit for honey generated by the bees in the new hives distributed by Nature Kenya. We drive past the pilot area to look – the small jatropha plantation is guarded by security and has bulldozers waiting to clear more land. We visit Mulunguni village and meet the elders from the village which is setting up a Community Forest Area (CFA) to take control and manage their own natural resources and defend them from developments
Kenya's Coast Provincial Commissioner Ernest Munyi orders the NGOs to keep off the project saying 'The investors should be left alone so that the project can kick off as soon as possible.' We work with Action Aid to commission a legal analysis of how the Dakatcha project stacks up against the sustainability criteria set out in the EU Renewable Energy Directive
We launch the results of the Life Cycle Analysis which concludes that the project will result in up to six times the carbon emissions of fossil fuels. This gets great coverage in the UK media, including the Telegraph and BBC online.
The Chairman of Kenya's environmental regulator (NEMA) Francis Ole Kaparo visits the proposed jatropha project site and orders the developer and to engage in constructive dialogue with the communities.
Our legal analysis concludes that the Dakatcha project would result in a number of breaches to the sustainability criteria in the EU Renewable Energy Directive. We launch these results at an event in the European Parliament hosted by Linda MacAvan MEP. Serah Munguti from Nature Kenya gives a moving presentation on the biodiversity consequences of the project. David Barissa from Action Aid Kenya gives a powerful speech about its social consequences. The developer attends and attempts to defend the project. The Brussels launch is followed by an event in the UK Parliament attended by Norman Baker MP
Nature Kenya starts work with KFS (Kenya Forest Service) and the community to produce sustainable charcoal in Dakatcha
Kenya's environmental authority (NEMA) advises that jatropha is 'not viable' in coastal Kenya raising hope that KJEL will not get their licence to grow jatropha at Dakatcha. Commenting on the licence granted for a 10,000ha 'pilot' project to grow jatropha in nearby Tana River Delta NEMA's Chairman, Mr Francis Ole Kaparo, said "There is nothing to prove jatropha is viable. In fact, all evidence shows it has failed". Nature Kenya congratulated NEMA on this position. "NEMA is on the right path to sustainable development, by using science to avoid irreversible environmental, social and economic costs. We hope the Ministry will follow this advice and cancel Bedford Biofuel’s licence for a 'pilot' of 10,000 ha of jatropha at Tana, and that this wise decision has been made clear to Kenya Jatropha Energy Limited at Dakatcha" said NatureKenya CEO Paul Matiku.
We get the fantastic news that NEMA has refused permission for the proposed KJEL jatropha project. NEMA gave the following reasons for the decision: 1. insufficient data on the viability of Jatropha cultivation in Kenya, 2. Lack of evidence of concurrence from local community for the project, and 3. Lack of a land use plan to guide development in the area; and advised the developer to look for an alternative site. The decision was actually made last year, but it has only just been made public.
Worryingly KJEL have moved their machinery to a more remote part of Dakatcha woodlands. Legally they should not carry out any activities without first undertaking a new EIA and getting permission.
Exciting news – bird guides see a flock of about 100 Clarke's Weavers in the Chamari-Chalalu area of Dakatcha Woodland. There were both male and female weavers in breeding plumage, and several birds were feeding flying young.