Interior Ministry together with the Church seek to plant more than 200,000 fruit trees

First Counselor to Area President based in Nairobi but in charge of East and Central Africa at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mr Thierry Mutombo, plants one of a fruit tree at Ngong area, Kajiado county on 3rd November 2023. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

As heavy rains pound parts of the country, the Ministry of Interior and National Coordination in conjunction with a Christian Religious entity has embarked on a tree planting project.

The group intends to plant more than 200,000 fruit trees in six counties.

The Ministry will join hands with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to help mitigate climate change, address nutritional issues and also provide sustainable source of income for households in the counties.

Speaking during the exercise launch at Ngong Kajiado county, Thierry Mutombo, First Counsellor to Area President based in Nairobi said the initiative will be rolled out in Makueni, Uasin -Gishu, Kisumu, Tharaka Nithi, and Kwale counties and later in other parts of the country.

"We intend to plant at least 200,000 fruit trees in the six counties, of which 75,000 will be Hass avocado tree seedlings. Each county will get at least 33,000 assorted fruit tree seedlings suitable for their respective types of soil and prevailing climatic conditions," said Mr Mutombo

Mutombo said the initiative is the church's contribution to the Government's 'Jaza Miti' project.

He said plan will enhance food security, and promote economic empowerment for Kenyans, starting with the local communities.

''This particular initiative will involve National Government Administration Officer (NGAO) at all levels, starting from the grassroots, to enable monitoring and evaluation of its success.

Mutombo noted that Africa is worst hit by effects of climate change.

"We therefore have to be part of the solution, starting with locally-led climate actions such as tree planting, to mitigate problem," he said.

Mutombo said the tree planting programme represents a milestone in Kenya's collective commitment to combat negative effects of climate change, as envisioned in its revised Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement shared with the UNFCCC in 2020.

He said the commitment promises to cut carbon emissions and tackle deforestation and other environmentally destructive tendencies within the decade.

James Taari, Deputy County Commissioner Kajiado North Sub- County who represented the Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki lauded the initiative saying it will benefit locals.

He said the 'Trees for Food Programme' aims to address the urgent challenges of climate change by increasing tree cover while empowering local schools and community groups, especially women-led, to become active stewards of their environment.

''This approach promises to yield both immediate and long-term benefits for the country. The 200,000 assorted seedlings that the beneficiary in each county will receive, 75,000 will be grafted Hass avocados, grafted mangoes, oranges, lemons, and tissue culture bananas'' said the administrator.

He said the fruit trees are projected to bring economic prosperity to participating communities, beyond the environmental advantages.

Besides, the initiative is a pathway to sustainable access to nutritious food and a catalyst for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 1 (No Poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger), 3 (Good)

"I invite all Kenyans to join us in this remarkable journey towards a greener, more prosperous future for all. The Trees for Food Programme is not merely a project; it is a promise of a better tomorrow, where communities thrive, the environment flourishes, and we, as stewards of this journey, make a tangible and lasting difference," said Mr Taari.

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