At least 10,000 tree seedlings will be planted across Makueni County during this long rainy season, Makueni County Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Mr. Joel Mwangala has said.
Mwangala said this at the Kenya Medical Training College Makueni where he launched the annual tree planting in the county.
Consequently, he said the tree seedlings will be planted in both public, private schools, churches and farms across the county in a bid to increase forest cover in the area.
Further, he called upon the area residents to take advantage of the long rains to grow trees saying this will help in conserving the region which is semi-arid.
“I urge the people to supplement government efforts in growing trees and plant in their private farms and public institutions in a bid to increase forest cover to 10 per cent in the country by 2022,” said Mwangala.
The administrator reminded the residents to grow trees as a business that will give them an income by planting both indigenous and exotic trees.
Mwangala revealed that in the last three years, 1.3 million tree seedlings have been planted across the county saying currently the county has 13.7 per cent forest cover. About 500 tree seedlings were planted during the launch.
On his part, the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) Ecosystem Conservator Mr. Maurice Wanyiri said that it should be the responsibility of everyone to plant trees as it contributes to improving our environment.
Wanyiri noted that currently, Kenya imports timber from Tanzania saying if farmers embark on growing trees, they will earn an income from sale of timber hence alleviating poverty that is afflicting many.
He asked farmers to seek advice from his office on the kind of trees to plant like melia volkensii (local name – Mukau), cassia siamea (mukengeta) and neem tree (mwarubaine) that can take few years to grow.
However, he noted that livestock are the worst enemy of trees and called upon residents to protect tree seedlings to its maturity.
“We encourage people to plant all types of trees including indigenous and exotic that can provide timber, charcoal and fruits. Let civil servants also plant trees as a retirement plan, because in eight years’ time, it will be ready for harvest,” said Wanyiri.
On his part, National Environment Management Authority County Director Mr. Leonard Tampushi said that health and economy depend on the environment hence the need to plant trees.
In this regard, Tampushi called for more sensitisation of the members of the public so that they can be informed why they need to plant trees.
By Patrick Nyakundi and Ronald Rono