Homa Bay officers from the Kenya Forest Services marked the International Day of Forest by planting trees at Kamato Primary School in Lambwe within Suba North Sub-County
Speaking to KNA on Monday, Homa Bay County Conservator Mr. George Olugah said that the commemoration, whose theme is “Sustainable Production and Consumption,” was aimed at ensuring that the environment is protected and well managed.
He however alluded that forest coverage within Homa Bay County was still very low at 2 per cent instead of the targeted 10 per cent forest coverage, adding that nationally, the same stands at 7.4 per cent.
Olugah noted with concern that it was upon all the partners to agree and come together to ensure that the forest is conserved, re-afforest all degraded areas and ensure the private sector is involved.
“What we do as KFS is to engage ourselves in partnering with other stakeholders because we cannot achieve our goal of 10 per cent forest cover if we do it alone,” he added.
Olugah said that in as much as they were trying to conserve, their aim was to keep the livelihoods by engaging partners adding that this could only be achieved through community sensitization events such as Chiefs’ barazas.
“The sensitization of the community includes educating them on the importance of Income Generating Activities (IGAs),” he added.
Speaking during the same occasion, Willys Okeyo Omulo who is the Ambassador for Climate Change (ACC) in Homa Bay County and also the chairperson of an NGO supporting the environment known as “Aluora Makare, stated that the county was lagging behind in the journey towards increasing forest coverage in the country.
He urged the parliamentarians to pass the Forest Amendment Bill (FAB) that was presented to them in 2019 and was yet to be tabled, adding that Homa Bay is among the few counties yet to pass the bill.
“Our MCAs need to expedite the bill and ensure that Homa Bay is at par with other counties,” said Omulo.
By Mary Malaki and Brian Odhiambo