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Researchers urge Ministry to lift ban on logging of Mathenge as weed wreak havoc

RIFT VALLEY
By Caroline Chebet | October 5th 2018

Kenya Forest and Research Institute (Kefri) are lobbying for lifting of ban on logging of an invasive species to control its spread.

The researchers said Prosopis juliflora, also known as mathenge is fast spreading in several arid and semi-arid areas of Baringo, Tana River, Turkana and Mandera counties.

Baringo County Kefri Director Simon Choge said they had already written to the Ministry of Environment calling for lifting of the ban.

“We are liaising with the Ministry of Environment to allow for logging of the tree to control the spread,” Mr Choge said.

In Marigat sub-county, Baringo,the mathenge tree has eaten up over 10,000 hectares and is still spreading, blocking waterways, irrigation schemes, grazing fields and farms.

The weed is one of the top 100 invasive species globally ravaging arid and semi-arid areas of Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, West Africa, Australia and South America among other countries.

Tooth decays

Choge, however, said charcoal burning had greatly helped to control its spread.

The weed has also been blamed for tooth decays in livestock that feed on its pods. Some people who have been pricked by mathenge thorns have had their limbs amputated.

Choge said Kefri was researching on how to control the spread of the weed.

However, he said one of the most effective ways of controlling mathenge was through charcoal burning. “We are liaising so that regulations can be put in place so that those logging will not include other trees since the logging ban is on,” Choge said.

Researchers say mathenge pods are nutritious and can be milled and mixed with wheat flour to cook chapatis or mixed with molasses for livestock feeds.

This, researchers say, will also help control the weed

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