This won’t be the last bad rap on green projects and it hurts the industry. Read it when you can because it won’t be forgotten in Africa, extra hurdles for new proposals that will now require frank discussion and costly assurances.
The problem is, none of those promises came to be. “It was a combination of international hype and local organizations who were … selling seeds at very high prices claiming that they were special certified seeds when really they were just seeds collected from old trees in the wild,” Newman says. The plants also did not do well in arid conditions. “[The plant] was more fragile, especially in its initial establishment phase, than we thought,” says Jan Van den Abeele, executive director for Better Globe Forestry, a Nairobi-based group that studies optimal conditions for planting trees in dry areas. And many farmers had no buyers for their seeds.