The Government has relaxed the 90-day national ban on logging it imposed on February 24 in order to save drying water towers.
In a new directive, private commercial forest operators and timber products importers will, from April 18, undertake logging activities under strict control.
Private tree growers owning commercial forest plantations will continue with their operations if they agree to a joint verification and confirmation of source of product with the ministry.
“The movement permits will now bear enhanced security features. The Kenya Forest Service has been directed to maintain accurate chain of custody records for all timber and timber products,” said Tobiko.
Tobiko added that timber and timber products from neighbouring countries will also be subjected to the new movement permits upon verification and payment of applicable taxes and levies.
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The new reprieve however does not extend to loggers who felled their trees before April 18.
“Harvesting, transportation and utilisation of timber allegedly already paid for, felled or yet to be felled by licensed saw millers in KFS plantations as at the time of declaration of the moratorium are not exempted,” Tobiko said.
He, however, maintained the ban on timber harvesting in all public and community forests, remained in force to allow reassessment and rationalisation of the entire forest sector in Kenya.