The County Government of Bomet in collaboration with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), have projected to plant 2.4 million trees, between April and June this year, in line with the national campaign, “Keep Kenya Breathing Again”.
Speaking at Bomet town on Friday, while commissioning of the tree planting exercise, the Deputy Governor, Hillary Barchok said that the county government is committed to improve the tree cover, from the current 12.7 percent to 15 percent, by the year 2030.
“Despite the national forest cover being only 7 percent, Bomet County surpassed 10 percent projected nationally, by the year 2030, we continue with tree planting exercise to conserve Lake Victoria, which has its water catchment sites in Bomet, Kericho and Nakuru Counties,” Dr. Barchok noted.
He said the destruction of forests, especially the catchment sites, such as the Mau was due to ignorance of locals, who should be sensitized on keeping our environment safe by planting trees.
Dr. Barchok revealed that in the current tree growing season, the county government will provide schools with seedlings to assist in afforestation program.
The Deputy Governor also said that working with United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), on its programme on forests for sustainable cities, towns in the county will also be planting tree, which will be commissioned by Governor, Dr. Joyce Laboso on March 28.
He said that farmers will be supplied with fruit tree seedling out of the 2.4 million seedlings to be planted as an encouragement to improving the environment and at the same time be a source of food and revenue.
“If farmers plant Avocados, Mangoes and other fruit trees, we will improve our environment and improve their livelihood through the earnings from fruits,” Dr Barchok said.
On the national ban on logging, Dr. Barchok said that the tea sector depended greatly on trees for processing of tea, saying that the Environment Cabinet Secretary will give exemptions to individual factories upon request.
Bomet Chief Officer in-charge of Environment, Joseph Kebeney, said more than 400 head teachers within Bomet township have been sensitized to have at least 10 per cent tree cover in their institutions.
“The County Government will work with learning institutions in an effort to promote tree planting in the county,” Kebeney said.
The WWF Rift Valley Program Manage, Dr. William Ojwang said Counties should partner in planting trees to increase tree and forest cover, especially Mau forest which is the main water source over 12 counties.
By Joseph Obwocha