The government is in the process of gazetting over ten hills in Siaya to enhance forestry cover in the region, area the County Commissioner (CC), Michael Ole Tialal has said.
Tialal said that out of the 18 hills in the county, only two are gazetted hence exposing the rest to degradation.
He was speaking at the Ugunja Technical Training Institute (UTTI) Mbosie during the launch of the county tree planting season, a function that was graced by senior Kenya Forests Service (KFS) officials.
Tialal said that Siaya was pulling the tail nationally in tree cover, with a paltry 0.41% against the national requirement of 10%.
“We have to plant about one million trees so as to make strides towards achieving the national average,” he said, adding that yesterday’s event that saw the public plant trees at Mbaga Catholic Church grounds in Alego – Usonga and the UTTI planted 10,000 seedlings
He called for a closer cooperation with the county government to increase the tree cover, saying that it was shameful for the Siaya to lag behind regions in the Northern parts of the country that seem to be doing well.
The CC called on local leaders to come up with strategies that will entice the locals to plant more trees, and announced plans by the national government administrative officers to establish tree nurseries in each sub location to ensure steady supply of seedlings.
Tialal further called on people with idle land to put them under trees, saying that it was pity most people, especially those in urban areas leave their farms idle for years.
Addressing the occasion, a Kenya Forest Service Conservator, Samuel Muriithi urged Kenyans to consult the experts before planting the Eucalyptus trees.
Muriithi said that the trees, when planted without guide, can affect the environment hence the need for input from the forest officers.
By Philip Onyango