Narok County Commissioner (CC), Mr. Isaac Masinde, has rallied residents to plant trees during the oncoming rainy season so as to achieve the 502 million target in ten years.
Masinde said the county has already planted over four million trees in the Maasai Mau Forest, in addition to other seedlings planted in institutions like schools, hospitals, government offices, and churches.
“We did not plant many trees in the past year because of the prolonged dry spell. However, because the meteorological department has predicted prolonged rains, I know we will achieve our target of planting 502 tree seedlings in 10 years,” he said.
The CC, who was speaking at a public baraza held in Limanet, challenged the residents to put up tree nurseries in their farms and sell to willing farmers this rainy season.
“Most fruit trees like avocados, mangoes, and oranges do well in this county. The trees not only beautify their farms but are also used to supplement your diet,” he said.
He refuted claims made by opposition leader Mr. Raila Odinga while at a housewarming event in the county last weekend, where he alleged the Mau evictees had gone back to the forest land.
The CC reiterated that the government had fenced part of the forest and was in the process of fencing the entire water catchment land so as to bar any person from entering the forest land.
“No person is allowed to enter the forest land without permission from the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) because we are aware that the mega water catchment land is the source of many rivers,” he noted.
Narok County Ecosystem Conservator Daniel Mkung said the current tree cover in the county is 16 per cent but is targeted to increase to 30 per cent by the end of ten years.
“The President has directed that we plant over 15 billion trees in ten years’ time; that is why we have to be keen to ensure we plant and nurture trees on a daily basis,” he said.
Various organisations have adopted Mau forest blocks to plant trees, among them the Base Titanium organization, the Ewaso Nyiro South Development Authority (ENSDA), and Maasai Mara University.
By Ann Salaton