Government to plant 15 billion trees by 2032

The government's plan to plant 15 billion trees by 2032 is still on.

The programme is aimed at reaching 30 per cent of tree cover.

Forestry Principal Secretary Ephantus Kimotho said the project, which began in 2019, is supported by several partners. These include the African Development Bank, United Kingdom Fund, Global Environment Fund and the local private sector.

"We have engaged several partners in resource mobilisation to achieve our target which will cost Sh16 billion. Right now we are carrying the exercise in 15 counties where Kenya Forest Service serves in but we intend with time to spread it to 47 counties," said Kimotho.

He was speaking at the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) headquarters, in Nairobi, on Friday when he received eight vehicles donated to KFS by the African Development Bank.

Kimotho added that the trees will be planted on 2.5 million hectares of land that KFS manages.

Kimotho said that KFS will produce 350 million seedlings per annum to achieve the target.

"Research will also be done on the right seedlings to be produced for arid and semi-arid areas so that we ensure trees planted there can survive," added the PS.

Kimotho also urged KFS to start producing commercial trees for sale.

He said that people living in the diaspora but own land back home can grow trees on the land and sell them when they mature.

Kimotho said that in order to achieve the 30 per cent tree cover KFS officers need to be motivated.

The PS said he would advocate that the officers' welfare be looked into, including their accommodation.

He also called on people to plant more trees during this rainy season instead of leaving the water to go to waste.

Kimotho also said that his ministry was grappling with the issue of encroachment.

He cited the Kirosia forest in Samburu County as one of the areas that had been invaded by locals.

He said rangers have been conducting sensitization exercises to educate the locals on the importance of forests.

"We are cooperating with other stakeholders and different security agencies in order to ensure that our forests are well maintained and protected," said the PS.

The Acting Chief Conservator of Forests Alex Lemarkoko who was also present said that the recruitment of 2,700 KFS rangers was ongoing.

He said the number is the highest so far as previously they recruited 250 per year.

Lemarkoko called for improvement of the welfare and working condition of KFS workers who he said champion conservation efforts.