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Cooperative Societies urged to carry out tree planting monthly

Cooperatives and SMEs Development Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugi has called upon cooperative societies in the country to lead in the exercise of tree planting.

Chelugui noted that prioritizing the tree planting exercise by the cooperative societies will help boost national tree cover and conservation of the environment in the country.

Speaking in Murang’a where he led residents in a tree planting exercise, the CS said his ministry will champion tree planting especially in the counties and asked all departments and agencies under the ministry to come up with a schedule on where and how the trees will be planted on a monthly basis.

He noted that he will push tree planting to be one of the conditions of renewing Saccos’ licenses on a yearly basis.

“We want the cooperatives to have a detailed report on the conservation of the environment before we renew their licenses. Let the Saccos engage schools, Kenya Forest Service and other organizations to get sites to plant trees as a way of conserving our environment,” Chelugui noted.

He added, “We have directors of departments, CEOs of various parastatals in the Ministry of Cooperatives whom I request to adopt portions and areas to be planting trees once per month.”

The CS asked the Murang’a County Government and the Kenya forest service to support the initiative saying tree planting should be a continuous exercise.

During the exercise, over 10,000 seedlings were planted in Murang’a County which currently has a 27.8 percent tree cover.

He said all stakeholders including churches, the business community, and factories, among others, should be included in a county tree planting committee, which will spearhead tree planting.

“In this county there are established businesses, companies, churches, banks, and agricultural firms, among other stakeholders, to take up this initiative of planting trees.

“The multinational companies, including Delmonte, Kakuzi, among others, with large tracts of land, we want them to engage us to plant trees on their land, even if it is at the edge of their land,” Chelugui said.

Murang’a County, he noted, has a target to plant 13 million tree seedlings every year, and such a target can only be attained through concerted efforts by all stakeholders.

“We also encourage farmers to venture more into planting fruit trees, which have more benefits. Avocado and macadamia, among others, have more benefits since a farmer can get returns from the fruits and also from timber,” He stated.

Meanwhile, Chelugui advised young people to be educated and fully engaged in matters to do with trees.

“Today, the majority of people I see here are parents. Let school-going children be enlightened on the importance of trees. After those sitting for their exams, let them be involved in tree planting exercise. This will ensure our environment is taken care of for many years to come,” noted Chelugui.

Murang’a Deputy Governor Stephen Munania said the county government will fully partner with the national government on matters to do with conservation of the environment.

Munania said the county administration is taking tree planting as a value chain, noting that they have already formed cooperatives for fruit tree farmers.

“Already, we have brought together mango, oranges, and avocados and macadamia farmers into cooperatives. This will see the planting of more fruit trees in the county, thus increasing tree cover,” Munania added.

Nominated Senator Veronica Maina called upon the government to fully fund tree planting exercises in counties, saying the planted seedlings need to be nurtured to grow to maturity.

“Since the exercise of tree planting is a devolved activity, more resources are needed to ensure the exercise is successful,” she added.

Managing Director of Murang’a Water and Sewerage Company (Muwasco) Eng. Daniel Ng’ang’a said the 10, 000 seedlings that were planted at the company’s sewage area will be taken care of.

He underscored the importance of trees, saying the company has been able to access water from sources throughout the year due to continuous conservation of water catchment areas.

“Muwasco has been planting trees on a monthly basis in our water catchment areas, and we will continue with the exercise, keeping in mind the fact that the absence of trees will cause a water shortage crisis,” said Eng. Ng’ang’a.

By Bernard Munyao and Anita Omwenga

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