Grow trees to restore soils for sustainable growth, Kenyans told

Green Africa Foundation chairman Dr Isaac Kalua Green with members of Plant Your Age initiative at Konza Technopolis, Machakos County where they planted over 1000 trees on Thursday September 15, 2023. [Philip Muasya, Standard]

Kenyans have been urged to grow trees as a source of income and in the process rejuvenate soils for increased food production while at the same time beating the effects of climate change.

Speaking at Konza Technopolis in Machakos County on Thursday, Green Africa Foundation chairman Isaac Kalua Green, who led other environment conservationists in planting over 1,000 seedlings, said droughts and water scarcity can be reversed if all Kenyans were encouraged to grow trees in their farms and open spaces.

Dr Kalua said the declining forest cover had contributed to prolonged droughts and water insecurity. “In recent years, agricultural productivity has declined across the country due to poor soils. Planting more trees will rejuvenate the soils, conserve water and reduce greenhouse gases,” he said during the Plant Your Age drive also supported by the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs.

He urged Kenyans to make tree growing their personal responsibility, saying it was an opportunity for Kenyans to earn a living.

“Kenyans need to take tree planting as an opportunity to make money, make livelihoods and an opportunity to combat effects of climate change,” Kalua said.

During the event, a digital tool dubbed Plant Your Age web application was launched to inspire and provide knowledge to Kenyans, especially the youth on what specific tree species suit particular regions. Kalua lauded the government’s initiative of planting 15 billion trees in ten years and urged Kenyans to coalesce around that campaign.

He said if the 53 million Kenyans were encouraged to plant trees during their birthdays and took care of them until maturity, 1.15 billion trees would be planted in one year. In turn, this would ensure 40 per cent forest cover is restored by 2035, he explained.

Senior assistant secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Isabel Maithya called for collaborative efforts between government agencies and other players such as county governments and corporates to join the greening agenda.

Konza Technopolis Building Services Manager Paul Thuo, who represented the CEO, said they have reserved 15 acres for tree growing in the expansive complex.

“We urge individuals and corporates to come forward and make this space green. We will have smart green areas where people can track the growth of their trees on their smart phones,” Eng Thuo said.