The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) regional officials have been ordered to revive tree nurseries as the state plans to achieve ten per cent forest cover by 2022.
KFS Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau directed officers in charge of all forest stations to ensure tree seedlings are available for rehabilitation of degraded forests.
Kamau said the service, in collaboration with counties target to plant five million trees in every county per year, translating to 235 million trees, as it seeks to achieve the United Nation’s minimum ten per cent forest cover.
Speaking in Kapseret, Uasin Gishu County during the launch of the tree planting exercise, Mr Kamau said the revival of tree nurseries that provided adequate tree seedlings during the 1980s and 1990s will ensure the country achieves requisite forest cover.
“We are supporting the forest stations to make this directive possible. This year, we are committed to reviving all our tree nurseries, not only for the needs of forest stations but for the public to plant trees in their private farms,” Mr Kamau said.
He said KFS is working closely with the ministry of agriculture to make available seedlings for fruits and nuts including avocado and macadamia for farmers across all the counties.
The chief conservator said KFS is producing 1.5 million trees to be planted in Uasin Gishu forests and asked the county government to support the production of additional 500,000 seedlings.
“All heads of conservancies are now under instructions to ensure that five million trees are planted in counties. We are in talks with the ministry of agriculture to produce seedlings of trees that are beneficial to farmers,” said Mr Kamau.
Mr Kamau who was accompanied by the head of conservancies from the North Rift region also launched the tree planting exercise at Kimondi forest in Nandi County.
He said KFS has rolled out plans to engage communities through the community forest associations (CFAs) to support conservation efforts on contractual terms.
“In the future, we are working on a modality to outsource labour from the CFAs. The community groups will be engaged in the pruning of trees and other conservation activities,” he announced.
Uasin Gishu governor Jackson Mandago said the county aims at achieving a ten per cent forest cover by the year 2022 and eventuality and 30 per cent cover by 2030.
Mr Mandago said his county is trailing behind Elgeyo Marakwet County, which has 37 per cent forest cover, and Nandi (26 per cent) of forest cover.
The county boss asked KFS to promote ecotourism in the country’s major forests and water towers, saying ecotourism will encourage communities to conserve forests and increase resources for conservation.
“The county will work with KFS head of conservancy to have the largest tree seedling nurseries in the country. We want to have enough seedlings to achieve our target,” said governor Mandago.
He asked the national assembly budget committee to allocate more funds to KFS recruitment of additional rangers to deal with the degradation of forests in the North Rift region, which is endowed with Cherangany and Kaptagat water towers.