Over 100,000 trees planted in Ukambani

National Treasury CS Njuguna Ndung'u and Machakos governor Wavinya Ndeti distributes trees to children during the National tree planting day at Muumandu Forest in Machakos County on May 10, 2024. [John Muia, Standard]

The counties of lower Eastern including Makueni, Machakos and Kitui planted over 100,000 trees on Friday.

In Makueni County, over 10,000 trees were planted at Makongo forest within Kaiti sub-county while 4,000 trees were planted at Kiu wetland in Makindu.

Jonathan Mueke, the Principal Secretary State Department of Livestock Development who led the exercise said the government was keen in ensuring all regions in Ukambani enjoy better tree cover.

“The disasters we are experiencing can be protected by planting trees, especially in degraded areas. The government has been distributing food to protect the people but today’s exercise is very key,” said PS Mueke.

National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) County Director Oloo Vincent said the water catchment area was slowly recovering.

“The people in Makindu town were initially struggling but now we can see water is flowing. There is sprouting of new tree species, thanks to the president who officiated a national tree planting exercise last year,” said Vincent

Makueni gears towards restoration of various wetlands and springs which include: Kiboko wetland, Umani springs, Kwa Kikoo wetland, Kifungoni dam, Kilui wetland, and Kambuu springs among others.

In Kitui County, through the FLLoCA programme, the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry carried out forest restoration and management activities in Endau, Mutito, Mui and Nuu wards. 

More than 8000 seedlings were planted in a coordinated effort along the Endau - Mutitu - Nuu hills belt.

Why tree growing is more important than tree planting

Hundreds of other seedlings were planted within Mumoni hills in Mwingi North, which has been gazetted as a tourist attraction site due to the habitation of rare birds found in the area. 

These activities are aimed at creating community resilience against the effects of climate change. 

These were some of the areas that were severely affected by human activities such as charcoal burning and logging and which are being restored by the county government.

In Machakos County, Governor Wavinya Ndeti hosted Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Njuguna Ndung’u where they led locals in a tree planting exercise in Kalama Sub-County.

Thousands of seedlings were planted with over 300,000 others distributed across the sub-counties.

Prof Ndung’u urged Machakos residents to consider fruit trees, particularly mango and avocado, which he noted had multiple benefits.

 “In the next five years, we need to have a mango pulp processing factory here in Machakos. A lot of potential lies in commercial processing of fruit as well as value addition,” said the Treasury CS.

 CS urged residents to consider trees that are consistent with the respective ecological locations.

“We must work hard and ensure that every tree planted survives. What we are doing now is ecological restoration. We are the ones that have destroyed our agricultural ecological zones,” said Prof Ndung’u.

Governor Wavinya said tree planting is critical in combating the effects of climate change. “Kenyans must come out in large numbers to plant and grow trees as one way of combating the effects of climate change,” said Wavinya.

The Governor noted that county governments have been instrumental in tree planting and environmental conservation, calling for a joint collaboration and goodwill with the National Government in promoting tree planting.

“I can tell you that about 11 million trees have been planted in Machakos County since the onset of devolution. This shows that devolution is working. Devolution is where the people are and where the impact should be felt,” said Wavinya.

Reports by Stephen Nzioka, Erastus Mulwa and Phillip Muasya