Kisumu County Government has set aside sh10 million to plant trees during the long rains season to help boost forest cover in the area.
The tree planting initiative according to County Chief Officer in charge of Water, Environment and Natural Resources Maurice Odhiambo targets to boost the forest cover to 5 percent.
Kisumu is among the counties with the lowest forest cover in the country with recent mapping putting the cover at 0.45 percent.
The County Government, he said, had embarked on establishment of tree nurseries at all the sub counties ahead of the long rains season.
“We have issued out quotations to seedling suppliers and started digging holes in preparation for planting season,’’ said the Chief Officer.
Plans, he added, were underway to bring on board non-governmental organisations engaged in environmental conservation activities to scale up the programme.
To make the programme a success, the department, he disclosed has also partnered with schools where students shall be required to plant a tree each.
The two gazetted forests in the area, Koguta and Karateng, he said were under threat due to encroachment and human activities that has contributed to illegal cutting down of trees.
The two forests, he said, shall also be targeted calling on area residents to join hands with the county government and plant trees.
“Our people have not embraced tree planting and this is to blame for the poor forest cover we have today,” he lamented.
The locals, he said shall be sensitised on the right types of trees to plant to boost survival rates.
“We have partnered with the Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI) to analyse soil across the seven sub counties so as to advice on the right types of trees to plant,” he disclosed.
By Daisy Wamalwa and Chris Mahandara