The campaign to attain 10 per cent tree cover by 2022 as per presidential directive intensified this week following short rains experienced in different parts of the country.
Kenya Forest Service reported over 10000 tree seedlings planted in Nandi, Kakamega and Uasin Gishu counties within this week in an exercise led by Chief Conservator Julius Kamau.
In Nandi County, 6,600 indigenous seedlings were planted while in Uasin Gishu and Kakamega Counties 2000 and 2700 tree seedlings planted respectively.
According to Kamau 360 million, tree seedlings need to be planted annually for the country to achieve the 10 per cent forest cover target.
In Nandi County, the CCF emphasised on the importance of engaging communities in forest conservation, protection, and management by initiating non-extractive programs (ecotourism) with technical support from the Service aimed at improving livelihoods and thereby providing economic empowerment.
“This will greatly ease human pressure on forest resources in the region,” he noted.
The CCF tasked the Nandi Ecosystem Conservator Kenneth Muskiton to ensure all Community Forest Associations (CFAs) in the region are up and running with an emphasis on community forests who are yet to sign Forest Management Agreements.
Nandi Deputy Governor acknowledged the need to have the region access clean water resources citing the importance of forests in the county as water catchment for all the rivers in Nandi County
The Deputy Governor pointed out that the county is expanding coffee planting in the region by supplying seedlings to farmers to practice the venture as a cash crop as well as to improve tree cover in the region.
In Kakamega 5, million tree seedlings are expected to be planted across the county during the short rains in water catchment areas, wetlands, public institutions, community forests, and farmlands among others.
Uasin Gishu County also expects to plant a similar number of tree seedlings within the short rains season through the partnership with KFS in Timboroa, Nabkoi, Lurenge, Kipkurere, Cengalo, and Kapseret forest stations.
The CCF encouraged the county governments to build capacity locally by supporting youth groups in the established tree nurseries as an income-generating activity. He also urged all forestry stakeholders to plant trees that speak to the need of the public by planting agroforestry trees such as fruit trees.
“This will enable the country to also achieve the Big4 Food Security Agenda.”