KERICHO, KENYA: Londiani community forest association has entered into a contract towards the rehabilitation and reforestation of 107.6 Ha of the forest.
Londiani forest forms part of the catchment of the hydropower generating Sondu Miriu River. The deal with the Kenya Forest Service will be funded by the Kenya Energy and Environmental Social Responsibility Program (KEEP).
Cabinet Secretaries Keriako Tobiko (Environment and Forestry) and Charles Keter (Energy) noted that the objective and purpose of the fund is to among others finance activities relating to the growing of trees to conserve and preserve degraded areas of the forest catchment for hydropower dams, including the provision of a sink for carbon dioxide generated through combustion of fossil fuels.
CS Tobiko commended the Governor and entire leadership of Kericho County for their dedication to environmental and forest Conservation through the enactment of laws and policies that work in favour of conservation.
"President Uhuru Kenyatta directed bamboo be gazetted as a cash crop, and we are happy that the county government is urging residents to plant bamboo in replacement of eucalyptus in riparian areas."
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Tobiko directed the Kenya Water Towers Agency (KWTA) to establish a bamboo nursery in the county for farmers to get alternative bamboo to replace eucalyptus at a reasonable price.
He also directed Kenya Forestry Research Institute to work with KFS to help establish an indigenous tree nursery in the county.
"It is important for county and national government to work together," the CS said as he assured Kericho Governor Prof. Paul Chepkwony who was present of his Ministry's maximum cooperation.
Tobiko also called on the local community to uphold a good relationship with the Service and other government agencies to enable proper protection of forest resources.
On his part, CS Keter stated that the partnership between the two ministries has been on for more than 10 years and will continue for the benefit of the entire country.
"We have planted trees in about 9 counties during this partnership and spent over 500 million," noted Keter.
The CS pledged to continue working with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and Kenya Forest Service as the partnership is vital in keeping our country's hydroelectric dependence stable.
"We need to keep partnering to adopt forests and plant more trees as directed by The President," underscored Keter.
They further urged the community to keep working hand in hand with the Service in Conservation of the forests around them.
To that end, CS Keter directed immediate installation of electricity at the Mt. Blackett forest rangers camp on the grounds where the launch was happening at Londiani Forest Station.
The Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau welcomed the partnership where he noted that the multi-stakeholder and multi-agency approach signifies a new strategy that the Service is taking towards conserving vital forest resources.
"This is a testimony of success in building synergies among government ministries, departments, and SAGAs to advance the conservation of critical forest resources which are our national heritage and important water towers," he said.
Kamau also stated that through the Adopt A Forest framework of collaboration, a total of 6,607 Ha had been adopted out of which 5,000 had already been planted.