Communities living within the borders of Kilifi creek and the Indian Ocean in Kilifi County have been commended for conserving mangrove forests despite the harsh economic conditions.
These people have been protecting the mangroves for the past decades by making sure that they are not cut and used as building materials or for furniture.
However, drought and climate change has caused the drying of sections of mangroves within Kilifi Creek.
Chief Conservator-Kenya Forest Service Julius Kamau, who was the Chief Guest during the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem at Kidundu, along Kilifi Creek, applauded the team spirit between forest staff and the communities living adjacent to forest reserves.
He expressed satisfaction that 500, 000 mangroves have been planted within a span of two weeks from Vanga in Kwale to Kiunga in Lamu and encouraged communities within mangrove zones to take conservation measures seriously.
“Mangrove tree cover is currently at 27.2 percent from Mtwapa to Ngomeni along the Indian Ocean in Kilifi and is expected to rise to 70 percent by 2025. There is therefore the need to maximize efforts in planting mangrove tree seedlings along coastal creeks,” he said.
Over 2000 mangrove tree seedlings were planted during the event which saw pupils and students from nearby schools turn up for the exercise. Several partners among them Kenya Maritime Authority, KMFRI and Kenya Fish Marketing Authority (KFMA) among others turned up in support of the event.
Mtwapa, Takaungu, Kilifi, Matsangoni, Uyombo (MTAKIMAU) Community Forest Association (CFA) Chairlady Ms Grace Choni, called for the renewal of the programme and its support for continuous protection of mangrove forests.
“Supporters of CFAs have indicated their withdrawal plans and this could jeopardize activities of these associations if left to depend on themselves. Financial support for programmes initiated by our partners have greatly succeeded in educating communities on the need to conserve mangroves”, she said.
During the event, (KFMA) brought 20 beehives to support Kilifi CFA and pledged to avail more beehives in support for other CFAs in the region for members to engage in beekeeping to boost their income.
By Harrison Yeri