KIA PLEDGES €1.5 MILLION FOR CHARITY SHRUB PLANTING PROGRAMME IN AFRICA
Kia Motors Europe is to sponsor a long-term charitable programme for the planting of shrubs in southern Mali, West Africa. The project, called ‘Kia – Planting for a Better Life’, will guarantee the planting of up to six million jatropha shrubs over the next three years, helping to secure a brighter future for communities in the area by boosting agricultural output and generating income for farmers and their families.
Supported by Kia’s 14 wholly-owned European subsidiaries* including Kia Motors UK LTd.,, the project will see Kia making a donation equivalent to six jatropha seedlings for each vehicle sold in the participating countries, up to a maximum value of €500,000 each year.
An integral part of Kia’s Corporate Social Responsibility activity, the project will be implemented for Kia by the Netherlands-based ‘Trees for All’ organisation. The foundation has broad experience of jatropha planting programmes and has worked with Kia Netherlands and Kia Sweden on projects in Mali since 2007. These earlier initiatives have already been responsible for establishing 2.3 million trees, and have set up 51 Jatropha Field Schools – teaching more than 5,000 local farmers to-date how best to use the shrubs and how to achieve better yields of key crops, such as maize, sorgho and peanuts.
“This important project will deliver rapid, genuine and long-term benefits to Malian farmers, their families and their communities, in a variety of ways, for many years to come,” comments Paul Philpott, COO Kia Motors Europe.
The jatropha shrub is a hardy, drought- and pest-resilient evergreen perennial which has numerous benefits. It is toxic to wild animals so makes an ideal hedge plant or ‘living fence’ with which farmers can ring other crops. It also helps prevent soil erosion and, from year five onwards, produces an average yield of 3.5 kg of ‘climate nuts’ sufficient to create 0.5 litres of bio-diesel fuel, boosting the farmer’s income.
“The earlier projects supported by two of Kia’s national subsidiaries have been hugely beneficial for the farmers and local communities concerned and have demonstrated what could be achieved with even greater support. Now, with Kia pledging its involvement across many key markets in Europe, the new planting programme can be taken to a much higher level, facilitating a vastly extended planting schedule,” added Philpott.