Lake Victoria Basin Commission bets on bamboo trees to restore Osipata Gulley in Busia

Sand gulley at Osipata, Teso South in Busia County. [File, Standard]

The Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) has embarked on an ambitious initiative to restore the fragile Osipata gulley in Teso South, Busia County.

The East African Regional entity is banking on bamboo trees to overturn the environmental degradation the gullet has experienced in the recent past.

This is happening against a backdrop of complaints from residents whose lives have been affected negatively by the deep valley that has cut off the movement of people and animals between Akitesi and Achit sub-locations.

But there is a ray of hope after LVBC embarked on an ambitious project to restore the troubled gulley.

According to LVBC, the commission has spent USD 30,000 in efforts to restore the valley. The commission received the funding from the Adaptation fund through UNEP under the Adapting to Climate Change project.

Executive Secretary Dr Masinde Bwire said the commission’s move to restore the gulley comes in the backdrop of a huge public outcry.

"The commission is committed to restoring the biodiversity of the gulley and is planting bamboo trees as part of the efforts to restore its former state," he said.

The commission has planted about 10,000 bamboo trees and is optimistic that the efforts will bear fruit. The trees have been planted within schools and villages to help reduce soil erosion.

The commission has partnered with several stakeholders including Busia County government and Eco Green Kenya to restore the gulley.

Pupils of St Peter’s Osipata Primary and Junior Secondary plants bamboo trees at Osipata Gulley. [Harold Odhiambo, Standard]

Jackline Amadi, head of programme Eco Green Kenya said, “We are glad to be part of this restoration exercise because hundreds of people in this Osipata community have suffered a lot and that is why we have moved up with speed to plant bamboo. So far, we have planted 10,000 bamboos and we are still planning to do more."

Irene Majale, the Environment Officer Directorate of Environment in Busia County described bamboo as a potential game-changer to restore tree cover in the gulley.

“We are committed as a county to restoring this degraded site and enlightening the community on the importance of planting bamboo," she said.

St Peter’s Osipata Primary and junior secondary headteacher Rosalia Ojoya praised the initiative. Her institution is one of the many schools stakeholders are targeting as part of the restoration exercise.

“As a school, we appreciate this initiative. It will help improve environmental protection and also provide us with adequate shade," she noted.