Loitokitok CFA gets green light to manage forest

CS Keriako Tobiko and CCF Julius Kamau in Loitokitok (PHOTO: Courtesy)
The government has launched the Participatory Forest Management Plan (PFMP) 2018-2022 for Loitokitok Forest.

The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko also witnessed the signing of the Forest Management Agreement (FMA) between Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and Loitokitok Community Forest Association.

The FMA, as a management tool, grants the Loitokitok Community Forest Association (CFA) user rights to participate in the conservation and management processes of the forest reserve, which covers an area of 765 Ha and is a critical catchment area for several rivers that serve Kajiado County.

The Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) Julius Kamau, while signing the FMA lauded the efforts by the Loitokitok CFA in the restoration, conservation, and protection of the forest and appreciated the complimentary support KFS has received from other partners and stakeholders towards the same.

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The CCF also pointed out that the PFMP will inform the background through which the Service will engage with the Loitokitok CFA in conservation processes of the forest.

The PFMP will guide how KFS will engage with the community in ensuring mutual benefit of the forest resource and ecological goods by non-extractive methods such as ecotourism, recreation, and cultural activities, beekeeping, grass harvesting, collection of medicinal herbs, wild fruits, and vegetables, seedling production, water abstraction, scientific and educational activities among other benefits.

Speaking during the launch of the PFMP, the Chief Executive Officer WWF Kenya Dr. Mohammed Awer pointed out that the anticipated 3.45 million Euro International Climate Initiative (IKI) East Kilimanjaro Landscape Restoration Project will be instrumental in the implementation of the PFMP as well as supporting the landscape restoration of the neighboring group ranches.

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Other present entities included the Tourism Finance Corporation, which committed to collaborating with KFS and CFAs in financing ecotourism development for the CFAs as a way of enhancing livelihoods for the Forest Adjacent communities.

Kenya Power on its part led the planting of 1,500 assorted indigenous seedlings and committed to fast-tracking power connectivity to the forest station.

SEE ALSO :Samburu families to get KFS support

Friends of Karura Forest Association (FKF-CFA) who have been mentoring the Loitoktok CFA, committed to continued provision of technological support in honey processing as well as sourcing for its marketing to boost the income-generating activities by the Loitoktok CFA.

Others present included the Kenya Medical Training College Loitokitok and the Office of Kajiado County Commissioner represented by the DCC Mr. Lawrence Kinyua. During the event, over 1,000 indigenous trees were planted.

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