Residents of Nyakach and Nyando in Kisumu County have rolled out an ambitious tree planting program to tame perennial floods in the area.
The program which entails planting of trees along the banks of River Nyando and areas prone to floods is expected to act as a drag on flood waters to end the menace which has seen thousands of people displaced over the years.
Speaking during the launch of the program, Nyakach Deputy County Commissioner Peter Mutu said Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs have been roped into the initiative.
The National Government Administration Officers, he said, have been tasked with the responsibility of mobilizing the community to plant trees to help boost forest cover.
“We want each person to plant at least 100 trees to mitigate floods and the effects of climate change,” he said.
Mutu asked chiefs and their assistants to sensitize the community on the initiative during public barazas to make it a success.
Area Forestry Officer Sabina Isaac said the Kenya Forest Service through research had established the right tree species to be planted in the area calling for concerted efforts to raise the forest cover which is below 1%.
The community, he said, was being encouraged to plant fruit trees in their homes to boost forest cover and at the same time cater for their nutrition needs.
The flood’s menace in the area, he added, has been exacerbated by the poor tree cover resulting in soil erosion and land degradation.
“The gully erosion in this area is attributed to lack of trees. If we plant trees in the affected areas it will slow the flow of water downstream and control flooding and soil erosion,” he noted.
Destiny Mentors Community Based Organization (CBO) which is actively engaged in the program targets to plant over 50, 000 acres in the two sub-counties.
The CBO’s head Samuel Mola said one million seedlings have been procured to implement the first phase of the project.
Part of the seedlings will be distributed free of charge to members of the community while the rest will be planted at the designated area, he said.
“So far we have planted seven acres. Today we are planting three acres but we target to increase the acreage at the beginning of next year through partnership with the community and schools,” he said.
Mola said lack of funds was the biggest challenge to the project calling on well-wishers to partner with the community to make the initiative a success.
By Chris Mahandara