KVDA embarks on tree planting in landslide-prone regions

KVDA Chairperson Mark Chesergon donates mango seedlings to reformed cattle rustlers at Chesongoch village in Elgeyo Marakwet, August 2022.  [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) has embarked on afforestation programmes along settlement regions prone to landslides in North Rift to avert tragedies in future.

The authority, in partnership with an Italian Corporation, seeks to prevent flash floods through indigenous and fruit tree planting to enhance conservation efforts and boost food security in the region.

Identified regions to benefit from the program include Chesogon in West Pokot County, where over 50 people lost their lives and 1,500 others were displaced and property destroyed following a massive landslide in 2020.

In 2019, over 60 people died in three villages of Muino, Nyarkulian and Parua and property was destroyed following a massive landslide that swept across the area.

The collaboration intends to plant 126,000 million fruits and tree seedlings in the current Financial Year.

Among the counties to benefit from the project include West Pokot, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Turkana, Uasin Gishu, Nandi and Samburu.

Speaking during a tree planting drive at Parua School, KVDA Managing Director (MD) Sammy Naporos noted the agroforestry programme will enable the region to avert desertification and reach a 10 per cent forest cover goal.

He said the programme is in line with President William Ruto's directive of planting 15 billion trees by 2030 in the Country.

“We are planting avocados and mangoes, which do very well. We have done vetting in schools and communities for those to be involved in planting trees,” he said.

Naporos said they are targeting landslide-prone areas, including Embobut, Aror, Lomut, Weiwei, Muruny and Lelan Highland.

“We have planted 6 million tree seedlings this year. This will also improve environmental conservation and food security through the provision of fruit and tree seedlings. Residents should embrace planting grafted mangoes,” he said.

“We intend to increase forest cover to help control soil erosion. Fruit trees will also help the youth generate income. We want to make the environment pollution free,” he said.

Naporos said the program on advocacy to boost forest cover is being implemented as a permanent solution to disasters in the degraded mountainous areas to prevent future landslides and play a major role in risk reduction.

KVDA Chairperson Mark Chesergon advised farmers to plant more trees in escarpments prone to landslides in the region.

“Landslides happen when rainwater has nothing to hold and runs down the escarpments causing destruction,” he said.

He said the corporation is supporting all government initiatives aimed at attaining the target of 10 per cent forest cover.

“This is an ambitious plan, which we are committed to undertake at whatever cost if we are to avoid further calamities from landslides. We must put measures in place to avert the calamities in the area,” he added.

He said most communities had suffered landslides, displacements and loss of lives due to poor land management.