This paper analyzes the value chain of Melia volkensii timber grown on farms in the South Eastern dry lands of Kenya. The “filiere” approach was used to analyze the institutional and the economic dimensions of the chain, while technical dimensions were analyzed using on-farm timber sawing systems. Six main actors; tree farmers, timber merchants, sawyers, timber yard operators, furniture makers, and end consumers were mapped. Transporters, though temporary, played intermediary roles of facilitating the linkages. A variety of combinations determined costs and gains along the chain. Some actors circumvented some links to increase revenue. Quality of trees and sawn timber were key determinants of monetary value transacted along the chain. Inadequate farmers’ skills in tree silviculture, valuation and cumbersome procedures in obtaining Government permits were also mentioned as major challenges, while timber sawyers lacked efficient sawing technology, consequently lowering income along the entire value chain. To improve the value chain, there is need to address the identified challenges through enhancing information and technology transfer to the players among other interventions.
Key words: Farm grown timber value chains, Melia volkensii, “filiere” approach, chainsaw.
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