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New Bill to empower forest officers

By Lee Mwiti | December 22nd 2015
By Lee Mwiti | December 22nd 2015

The proposed Forest Bill seeks to empower Kenya Forest Service in the management of the country’s forest resources.

According to Environment and Regional Development Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu, the new Forest Bill will be enacted next year and will help protect the environment, besides providing guidance on development of the multi-billion timber and charcoal industry.

The minister added that the legislation will replace the current forestry law, and is designed to cater for present realities in the sector, including the role of county governments in the management and development of forestry in the country.

She spoke at the Kenya Forest Service headquarters at Karura over the weekend during a staff party and awards presentation ceremony.

The minister noted that the Bill will also empower the Kenya Forest Service in the management of State forests, and clearly spell out its assistance and coordination role in the management of other forests.

The ministry, she said, is also working on a subsidiary legislation on charcoal industry to ensure the product is produced and used in a sustainable manner.

“Charcoal is both a critical source of energy for most households and also a means of income generation for thousands of Kenyans,” she noted.

KFS Director Emilio Mugo said the institution has raised and planted over 150 million trees this year, in addition to rehabilitating over 600,000 hectares through planting and conservation.

“About 17 forest participatory management plans to benefit community forest associations were approved and four of them signed and launched,” he said.

“The KFS also managed to revoke 10 title deeds in collaboration with the National Land Commission this year, and recently won a case against the encroachment of Sikhendu Forest in Uasin Gishu County,” he added.

The board chairman, Peter Kirigua, said the board has formed a sub-committee to monitor the implementation of the green schools tree growing programme launched by the President Uhuru Kenyatta two years ago.

The service, he noted, was working with various stakeholders in the process of achieving a 10 per cent forest cover before the set 2030 target.

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