Equity Bank LTD and the Kenya Forest Service on Tuesday launched 35 million trees planting initiative for the next one year.
The bank has set aside Sh350 million to accomplish the exercise.
Equity will work through its 183 branches, 7,000 staff as well as the leadership programme scholars. The bank will also work with its 14 million customers to each plant at least 10 seedlings.
The KFS will ensure production and planting of quality seedlings for the success of the initiative. The Service through its 250 forest stations will also support supervision of planted areas both within and outside gazetted forest lands.
Equity CEO Dr James Mwangi said that farmers will be incentivised within the programme through the provision of commercial and fruit tree species for planting on farms.
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The KFS Chairman Mr Peter Kinyua thanked Equity and noted the Service and Equity bank have a long and fruitful relationship that has seen farmers access capital for farm forestry enterprise. He said the Service is open to working with communities and other partners to realize the aspirations of all entities.
The CCF Mr Julius Kamau said the Service is glad and honoured to work in this partnership to attain the highest gains for the environment and deepen collaboration with Equity going forward. He said the partnership is a significant boost towards the attainment of 10% tree cover by 2022.
Equity Bank Chairman Prof. Macharia Muthure said the Board is certain the target is achievable, affirming the bank has a tradition of meeting and surpassing its targets. He said the effects of environmental degradation are far-reaching and encouraged tree planting in all available spaces within and outside forests.
Elsewhere the Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) Mr Julius Kamau on Wednesday led a tree-planting event in collaboration with Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), at Kibiku Forest, Kajiado County and 10,000 trees planted.
KDF has been planting trees at Kibiku forest for the last three years, and they have adopted fifty hectares of the forest.
The CCF appreciated the partnership and collaboration with the force noting the linkage between environmental conservation and security. The CCF emphasized the importance of working with communities for the sustainability of tree planting initiatives.
Captain A. M. Wachira from DEFTEC College spoke on behalf of the KDF personnel noting that environmental restoration through the Environmental Soldier Program has annual tree-planting targets, to contribute to national goals. KEFRI, Kenya Prisons Service, KWS, and NETFUND were represented at the tree planting event.
The CCF also urged communities to integrate crop production with tree planting to ensure environmental sustainability and secure the future of children.