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Two billion tree seedlings needed to attain 10 per cent forest cover by 2025

NATIONAL
By Antony Gitonga | July 30th 2021
Members of the public join officers from Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in planting trees in Eburu forest in Gilgil [Antony Gitonga]

Two million hectares of public space and two billion tree seedlings are what the country needs to meet the envisaged 10 per cent forest cover by 2025.

According to the Ministry of Environment, the process to attain the required forest cover has begun in earnest with stakeholders showing keen interest in the programme.   

Alfred Gichu, the Head of Forest Conservation at the ministry, yesterday called for massive investment into the exercise noting that the country was ranked among the lowest-forest countries in the region. 

Mr Gichu, however, noted that the State is committed to increasing the forest cover which now stands at 7 per cent.

He said in a bid to achieve the target, there was a need to invest in quality seedling production and reafforestation. “We require over 2 billion quality tree seedlings on the 2 million hectares and we are calling on partners to work with us so that we can achieve our targets,” he said.

Gichu was addressing the press in Naivasha during a consultative meeting organised by UNDP to address reducing emission from deforestation and degradation (REDD+). “As per the latest data, our forest cover stands at 7 per cent and we are keenly working with partners in getting the two billion seedlings,” he said.

Dr Joram Kagombe, a deputy director with Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI), noted that commercialising forestry would help achieve the 10 per cent cover.

He said the cover could be achieved by spreading their wings to private farms and issuance of quality seedlings in the right places.

Kagombe noted that the research institute was organising a commercial forest investment conference in September to discuss with stakeholders on how to reap from commercial forestry. “Since the logging ban came into effect three years ago, we have seen farmers turn to commercial forestry which is a big plus for the country,” he said.

A member of the Kenya Association of Manufacturing (KAM) Georgina Wacuka said that the logging ban had affected the sector with the cost of timber rising sharply.

“We are keen to work with the government in planting the two billion seedlings as the timber sector is critical for the economy of this country,” she said.

This was echoed by the deputy CEO Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) Martha Cheruto who said that they were keen to adopt forests.

“The private sector is fully behind the initiative as one way of addressing the current effects of climate change,” she said.

 

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