National Youth Service Men and Women planted over 112,000 trees at the Paramilitary Academy in Gilgil on National Tree Planting day on November 13, 2023. [Courtesy, NYS X]

The National Youth Service (NYS) will be deployed across the country to support Kenya Forest Service in planting and protecting trees, Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria has said.

Speaking in Nandi yesterday during the national tree planting, CS said the deployment of NYS personnel would be scaled up, and new stations established along the government forests to provide security against encroachment and illegal logging.

“The NYS has started with the tree planting exercise, and thousands of the seedlings have been distributed across the country. We will consider having them work alongside KFS and other environment conservation actors to achieve global environment resolutions,” he said.

He emphasized that planting alone is not enough and there is need to but mobilize government resources, security, and community to protect forests.

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang concurred with the CS and called on the national government to consider youths and women in nurturing and raising seedlings for sustainable environmental conservation.

“Whenever the trees are opened for harvesting, it is disappointing that the local youths and the residents who have been part and parcel in growing and protecting the public forest are locked out in the tendering processes. The government should consider them immediate beneficiaries,” he said.

In Trans Nzoia Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu led leaders and residents in planting tree in Kimoton forest, Endebess sub-county.

The CS landed in the county on a commercial flight before using his official vehicle to the forest.

He was among passengers aboard Skyward Express from Nairobi to Kitale airstrip on Monday.

Machogu demonstrated his teamwork spirit by planting 50 seedlings.

He said he was determined to lead the locals to plant over 11 million seedlings.

“I'm confident that I will emerge number one in this mission of tree planting. My team will target 11 million seedlings,” he said.

He emphasized the importance of protecting Cherangany and Mt Elgon water towers in the county, and asked residents to embrace tree planting and protect local forests.

Out of the planted seedlings, 10,000 were indigenous tree species.

Natembeya pledged to have 11 million seedlings distributed to each department for planting annually.

In Uasin Gishu, Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Chairperson Caleb Kositany led staff in planting trees at the Eldoret International Airport.

Kositany, who was accompanied by KAA Acting Managing Director/CEO Henry Ogoye and the regional Manager Walter Agong, said that the Authority's employees will be growing 60,000 trees annually.

“Initially, before the Government gazetted this day for the planting of trees, we had settled on this very day to plant trees as we advocate for the mitigation of climate change and environmental conservation,” he said.

The KAA Chairperson said that every passenger who was at the Airport on Monday was given a tree seedling to plant.

He said they had partnered with Eldoret Water and Sanitation Company to provide seedlings for the event.

At the airport, Agong said that they have dedicated 1,000 acres out of its total 2,000 acres of land for afforestation.

In West Pokot, Mary Muthoni, Principal Secretary of Public Health and Professional Standards, West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin, and United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Secretary General Cleophas Malala led the national tree planting at Aramaget ECDE centre.

Muthoni said a good environment is key to good health, saying that trees attract rain and reduce temperature.

“As a ministry, we aren't keeping quiet, that's why at Kemri we are researching pollution and health,” she said.

Kachapin warned residents against destroying the forest and urged them to conserve water catchment areas.

“I will lead the rest in removing those who have settled in forest areas. We have worked hard to conserve our environment, but Kamatira forest has been destroyed,” he said.

Reports by Edward Kosut, Lynn Kolongei, Osinde Obare and Irissheel Shanzu

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