Members of the cooperative movement were challenged to venture into commercial tree planting activities to improve their income base and posterity of our fragile ecosystem.
Speaking during a tree planting exercise for cooperators to mark the cooperatives environment day at the Nairobi ASK show ground, Cooperative Alliance of Kenya (CAK) CEO Daniel Marube said the movement has over 14 million members and if only each would plant 10 trees they would be able in increase the country’s forest cover.
He said it was time the Cooperatives sought ways of adopting sustainable practices that could address myriad of challenges at a go arguing such a venture could help conserve the environment and at the same time increase the income of members..
“we are planting more than 3000 trees for a start as we embark on a tree planting season for the cooperative moment, and we are encouraging each and every member of cooperative movement who has space to plant at least 10 trees and nature them”, he added .
Marube explained that they have entered into a partnership with the ASK show to plant trees tree in all their branches as it is important to have a clean environment.
“This has been our natural activity within the cooperative calendar and every year in either June or October we encourage and bring all cooperators together to plant trees”, the CEO noted.
He noted that the erratic climatic condition being experienced is not good for the country considering that one of the key pillars for the governments agenda is food and nutrition.
“ We know that soil is important and unless we plant trees we will not have enough rains and water and therefore not achieve the target of feeding every Kenyan and as cooperatives we are the centre of feeding this nation.”, Marube said
The CEO however castigated a few people who he termed greedy for destroying the natural resources without caring about tomorrow saying that the soil we have is enough to feed the country.
CAK chairman, Japheth Magomere said that as a country, we need to take part in tree planting and ensure that our environment is preserved for the next generation.
“As cooperators we saw it fit to join the rest of the world in mitigating the climate change which has become a global disaster”, said Magomere .
Acting Commissioner of Cooperatives Geoffrey Nangombe said it is time that cooperatives ventured in value addition to reduce waste and bring in more income to the members.
In a speech read on his behalf by one of the, Patrick Makenyengo , a commissioner , Nangombe said through increasing income for members there will be reduction in cutting of trees to make charcoal and therefore conserve the environment.
“ Achieving sustainable development , we will have to rethink ways in which we produce and consume goods and services “, he said adding that for the planet to sustain a growing population, it will be necessary to protect and use the limited natural resources the world has to offer
Nangombe noted that living in a fast paced world requires innovation to be able to cope with the changes and thus urged members in the cooperative movement to start going green for the sake of the planet.
Last year in May, President Uhuru launched an ambitious tree planting campaign at the Moi forces Academy, Eastleigh saying that the changing weather being witnessed in the country had been a result of neglected environment.
During that day, the President urged all Kenyans irrespective of status to heed the call and plant trees countrywide.
The Kenya Forest Services has laid out a strategy aimed at increasing the forest cover from the current 7.2 per cent to 10 per cent by 2022. . Under the strategy, Kenya needs to plant 1.8 billion seedlings between now and 2022 to achieve 10 per cent tree cover.
By Wangari Ndirangu