The Kenya National Accreditation Service (KENAS), has pledged to continue its support and collaborate with other stakeholders, in the rehabilitation of the Kaptagat Forest water tower, as part of its contribution toward greening Kenya.
As a show of its commitment, this year KENAS joined Environment and Forestry Permanent Secretary (PS), Dr. Chris Kiptoo, and the Regional and Northern Corridor Development, PS Dr. Bellio Kipsang, during the 6th Kaptagat Annual Tree Planting event, by contributing 5,000 tree seedlings worth Sh. 250,000.
In 2021, during the Fifth Kaptagat Forest Annual Tree Planting edition KENAS also donated another 5,000 tree seedlings to support the initiative. Over 30,000 indigenous and 9,000 bamboo tree seedlings were planted during the Sixth edition.
Speaking during the event held at the 50.8 ha forest adopted by international athlete, Eliud Kipchoge, Environment and Forestry Principal Secretary Dr. Chris Kiptoo announced that 1,277 hectares of the Kaptagat forest ecosystem have been rehabilitated within the last five years.
He said the initiative that was started in 2017, was aimed at rehabilitating 2,000ha of the forest that had been identified as extensively degraded by human activity
“The recent statistics done in May 2022, shows that we have surpassed the constitutional requirement of at least 10% tree cover and we are now at 12.3%”, and appreciated the concerted effort by both public and private sector, which he attributed to the increased national forest cover from 6.9% in 2010 to 8.8% in 2022, the PS said.
The PS also led the stakeholders in launching fencing of the 50.8ha forest section adopted by Kipchoge and urged the community, to protect the forest and grow trees not only for their own benefit but also for that of the country.
KENAS representative, Stanislaus Masinza, said KENAS wished to be part of the global goal by sponsoring and participating in the noble activity of tree planting towards the Kenya greening project.
“We pledge our continued support and collaboration going into the future as the country strives to achieve the internationally recommended 10 percent forest cover,” said Masinza, who represented the Agency CEO, Martin Chesire.
Masinza added that the tree planting initiative is a platform for the National Government’s objective of achieving the 10 percent forest cover in the country and underpins the need for environmental conservation and protection through public-private partnership and KENAS is committed to being part of the initiative,” said Masinza.
“Our vision is to be a symbol of trust in quality, safety, and environmental assurance, the accreditation of conformity assessments provides for order in trade, health, safety, and environment protection through the elimination of incompetent practices and the creation of level playing ground for conformity assessment bodies to compete effectively, and we assure Kenyans that KENAS will closely monitor accredited bodies to ensure they play their roles effectively, assured Masinza.
The Kaptagat Forest is an important part of the Cherangany – Elgeyo Hills Ecosystem which is an important water tower for Kenya. “The sixth edition was successful, having planted bamboos and other demonstration trees and we are waiting for the rains to come so we plant the next 42,000 trees,” remarked Eliud Kipchoge.
In 2019, Kipchoge signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to adopt the site so as to rehabilitate and restore the degraded site and later establish a training track and ecotourism site.
Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS) is a State Corporation established by the Kenya Accreditation Service Act, 2019, to be the sole national accreditation body.
By Kiptanui Cherono