Kia has embarked on a project that will see up to six million shrubs planted in one of the poorest countries in the world.
As part of the "Kia - Planting for a Better Life" charitable program the Korean manufacturer will, for every vehicle it sells, make a donation for the purchase of jatropha seedlings to be planted in southern Mali in West Africa.
The jatropha is a drought and pest-resilient shrub that can produce and average yield of 3.5 kg of 'climate nuts' sufficient to create 0.5 litres of bio-diesel fuel, boosting the farmer's income. Earlier projects implemented by Kia have seen 2.3 million trees grown and have set up 51 Jatropha Field Schools - teaching more than 5,000 local farmers 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 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 program can be taken to a much higher level, facilitating a vastly extended planting schedule," added Philpott.