Kirinyaga County is gearing up to attain a 30 per cent forest cover from its current 20 per cent, the area Ecosystem Conservator, Monica Masivo has said.
Masivo however, said Kirinyaga was still trailing behind Nyeri which has already attained 28 per cent and leading in the Central Region.
The conservator added that this rainy season alone some 1.5 million seedlings have been distributed in the entire county and planted within various homesteads and public institutions.
“When the long rains come in March next year, we are again set to distribute an additional 3.5 million seedlings in an effort to realize the United Nation’s forest cover requirement,” she said.
Masibo said having already filled all the pockets within the Mt Kenya forest with the seedlings this time round and also within shambas on the upper zone, focus will now be on various parts of Mwea which area still bare.
“We have earmarked Murinduko hill in Mwea East Sub County where we will be planting over one million indigenous tree seedlings and reclaim all its bare area once the trees starts growing,” she said.
Also to benefit will be the South Ngariama Ranching scheme where all the trees were destroyed after about 6,000 landless people were settled in.
“Although some of these settlers have planted some few trees, there is urgent need for a massive re-afforestation campaign in the area especially on vast spaces set aside for public utility,” she said.
Most parts of Mwea, she added were in dire need of tree planting due to their dry nature which either have few or slow growing trees.
She spoke in Kerugoya on Monday when she led the area residents in the ongoing tree planting exercise which will continue until the ongoing rains subsided while she confirmed there were enough seedlings available to the area farmers and schools.
Logging in Mt. Kenya forest remains banned and residents have lauded the government for extending the move.
County government wants a permanent ban put in place in this natural forest
Cost of timber has gone up following the ban with some farmers resulting to harvesting of premature trees.
By Irungu Mwangi