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Farmers encouraged to plant trees to beat climate change

By Ayoki Onyango | Published Sat, January 7th 2017 at 00:00, Updated January 6th 2017 at 22:35 GMT +3

As effects of climate change continue to bite, farmers have been urged to embrace climate smart agriculture like planting trees alongside their crops.

Towards this end, a charity organisation Hindu Religious and Service Centre (HRSC) affiliated to the Hindu Council of Kenya is championing tree planting in various parts of the country.

So far, the organisation has undertaken the tree project in Kitui, Machakos, Narok and Naivasha.

“The programme started in 2005 and we have been planting nearly 8,000 tree seedlings in different regions twice a year during rainy seasons,” says Shantibhai Shah, HRSC co-ordinator.

By the end of last year, they had planted 95,495 trees in 20 regions, says Shah.

To enhance forest cover in Kenya by consistent and sustainable tree planting, the group plans to plant 150,000 trees by the end of this year.

The organisation works with local authorities, county governments, communities and schools to make for a successful and sustainable tree-planting programme.

To achieve their goal, the organisation partners with local communities, environmental groups, community forest associations.

So how do they work?

When they see a potential area of need, first, a formal application is sent and verified by a physical visit to the area and a selection of ideal tree species and correct planting methods identified. The nurturing of trees to maturity and regular monitoring is done by its members.

So far, regions that have benefited from this programme include; Ndakaini Dam, Kireaita Forest, Wamunyu Escarpment, Nakuru, Naivasha, Uplands, Kiambu, Kwa Vonza, Kitui, Malindi, among others.

The group has planted more than 6,000 tree seedlings since last year.

“One of our objectives is greening of schools, public lands, communal lands and the environment and forests conservation. This way, we are working towards mitigating climate change,” Shah said.

According to FAO, tree planting and plantation forestry plays an important role in mitigating the devastating effects of climate change. The destruction and degradation of forests contributes to the problem through the release of CO2. But the planting of new forests can help mitigate against climate change by removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

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