Schools to plant 35 million trees annually

Education CS Ezekiel Machogu addressing the media on the education sector's contribution to the 15 billion National Tree Growing Programme at the Nairobi Arboretum on April 2, 2024 [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

More than 30,000 head teachers and their institutions stand a chance for recognition for leading tree planting.

This is after the government rolled out an ambitious campaign that will see teachers and learners plant 35 million trees every year.

With an estimated 17 million learners and 600,000 educators in the country the education fraternity is also expected to produce 300 million seedlings annually.

The initiative is part of the 15 billion National Tree Growing Programme.

On Tuesday, Cabinet Secretaries Soipan Tuya (Environment, Climate Change and Forestry) and Ezekiel Machogu (Education) co-chaired an inter-ministerial meeting on collaboration.

"The two ministries will enhance their collaboration in tree growing by jointly developing an award scheme for recognising best performing educational institutions," Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang said.

He spoke during the launch of school tree planting campaign.

Under the partnership 15,000 kilogrammes of tree seeds will be availed to the Ministry of Education to kick-start the tree-planting campaign.

Machogu revealed that they will seek approval of the National Treasury to allocate 5 per cent of the Education Ministry budget to tree planting.

"We will tap from increased Constituency Development Fund; and donor support among other sources, to at least get 5 per cent of the budget to go towards combating climate change and tree planting," he said.

Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and Kenya Forestry Research Institute (Kefri) will offer the ministry technical support on seedling production and tree growing including site-species matching.

The national tree planting campaign was launched last year in Makueni county by President William Ruto

Tuya said so far 300 million tree seedlings have been planted across the country as recorded on Jaza Miti Application.

"Many more seedlings were planted but due to the low uptake of the Jaza Miti Application they were not recorded," she said adding the the initiative has seen the construction of 11 new seed centres for high quality tree seeds.

The CS noted that they have distributed 100 metric tonnes of seeds estimated to produce 2 billion seedlings.