The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in collaboration with the County government of Uasin Gishu has planted 13 million tree seedlings this year.
The Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) Julius Kamau said this was made possible by the signing of the transitional implementation plan by the county government, a legal document allowing KFS to work in collaboration with the devolved unit.
Speaking Tuesday in Uasin Gishu where he led a team of KFS and county government officers in planting 3,000 bamboo seedlings along Kapseret River line rehabilitation, Kamau said in order for the country to achieve the internationally accepted 10% forest cover, the national government must work closely with the county governments in forest conservation and management.
“We must have a seamless collaboration between the two levels of government, if we have to deliver a comprehensive protection, conservation and management of forest resources, taking into consideration that in the forest sector some functions have been devolved while others are at the national level, hence the need for close collaboration,” said Kamau.
During the planting exercise, the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) together with China Wu-Yi construction company also planted 3,300 bamboos and assorted indigenous tree seedlings as an offset to the ongoing construction of the Eldoret town Bypass.
The chief conservator emphasized on the need for all Kenyans to work closely in environmental conservation and protection saying there is a close correlation between forest conservation and food security.
“We shall not be forgiven by future generations if we allow depletion of our natural resources because destruction of the forests will undermine food production, be it rain feed agriculture or irrigation, water is a major factor and it comes from the rain, which will be adversely affected if we fail to conserve our forest resources,” he warned.
In his remarks, Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago said every Kenyan must take responsibility in conserving the environment as this was not solely the responsibility of government or KFS.
He also asked the National Assembly and the County Assemblies to allocate more funds for conservation, warning that although conservation issues do not emerge as important during the budget process, it was a serious undertaking that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
“We either take issues of environmental conservation seriously now, or be prepared to suffer the consequences in the near future,” warned Kamau, adding that the effects of climate change due to human activity were already being felt in the country.
By Cynthia Jebet