The Keiyo South Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), George Otieno has called on residents of Elgeyo Marakwet County to play their role in ensuring that the county meets its target of planting five million trees by December this year.
The DCC said while both the county and national governments will do their part in planting trees in government forests and institutions, residents should support the initiative by planting trees in their farms.
Speaking at Kamwosor division on Tuesday during celebrations to mark world environment day where he represented the county commissioner, the administrator said since forest land was not expanding, planting of trees in individual farms will go a long way in increasing forest cover in the county.
The Assistant County Conservator, Sharon Cheluget expressed c
oncern that with the ban of harvesting of trees in gazetted forests which is still in force, pressure had been turned to individual farms.
“We are therefore appealing to farmers to guard against indiscriminate felling of trees in their farms as this will also lead to destruction of our forest cover,” she said.
Ms. Cheluget said while farmers are allowed to harvest their trees, they will not be allowed to fell indigenous ones next to water catchment areas or if the tree being felled was the only one in the farm.
The residents called on the committee in charge of issuing permits to simplify and hasten the process, saying it was frustrating to tend a tree to maturity only for the government to deny them income from their trees.
The County Director of Environment, Charles Suter who is in charge of issuing permits promised that the process will be hastened as long as all the conditions are met.
Suter said the county government was in the process of taking farmers to Londiani so that they can be trained on how they can establish tree nurseries without using polythene.
The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Director, Sally Kibos hailed county residents for fully embracing the plastic ban.
“We however have information that there are a few traders especially those dealing with milk and vegetables who still have plastic bags. We are advising them to surrender them because if they are found they will be prosecuted,” she said.
She also called on farmers whose farms encompass wetlands to ensure they protect them by adhering to the law which prohibits farming or even draining the water from such areas.
By Alice Wanjiru