Elgeyo Marakwet county assembly has urged the executive to begin implementing the county sustainable forest management and tree growing policy following its adoption by the house.
Contributing to the motion, nominated MCA Jasline Rutto, regretted that while there are many policies that are in place to address various sectors, implementation is a major challenge.
Saying the policy requires that 12,000 hectares of forest are restored annually, the MCA called on youth within the county to establish tree nurseries and apply for tenders to supply seedlings.
Noting that the county has suffered many cases of landslides in the past, Priscilla Kurgat (Lelan ward) said this would not have happened if there was sufficient tree cover on the escarpment to reduce surface runoff, hence, the importance of implementing the policy.
The policy calls for mapping out of county public land in both urban and rural areas to determine the area of land to be converted to forests while engaging with the lands department to undertake a comprehensive adjudication programme of all community land in the county.
It also wants the county to proclaim a tree planting and growing period, through a notice in the county gazette, immediately, before or during the rainy season, where both the government and public engage in tree planting.
The policy also calls for implementation of mechanisms for protection of tree species threatened with extinction and conservation of those threatened by illegal harvesting.
In order to ensure sustainable agriculture and livestock management, the policy demands that the county develops a programme for re-introduction of organic fertilizers for farming to support soil fixation and the growth of trees and biodiversity on farmland.
To address this, the policy urges for a review of pesticides and chemical fertilizers used in the county and collaborate with the national government for their removal and replacement.
The policy also proposes that the county mainstreams human rights in sustainable forestry by proactively engaging with the National Land Commission (NLC) to facilitate hearing of historical land claims of indigenous communities like the Sengwer, Cherangany, Ogiek and Kiptani.
By Alice Wanjiru