Equity Bank has launched a drive to plant 23,000 tree seedlings in Malindi Sub County as part of its 35th anniversary in which it intends to plant 35 million seedlings countrywide.
Bank employees and officials from the national government and a community-based organization started the exercise by planting 1,200 tree seedlings at the Malindi Police Station and the Malindi Deputy County Commissioner’s office.
Mr. Abdul Abubakar, Equity Banks Malindi Branch Manager, told journalists at the Malindi Police Station that the bank was planting the trees as part of giving back to society through the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy.
“We have chosen to plant the trees at this time because experts have assured us that there will be rains in this area from next week,” he said when asked why the bank had chosen to plant trees during the dry weather season.
The manager said the bank would ensure that at least 90 percent of the tree seedlings thrive as adequate plans had been made to take care of them through local youths, among them those engaged in the Kazi Mtaani programme, an initiative of the national government to cushion the youth from the effects of Covid-19.
“We have partnered with various organizations, Kazi Mitaani and students to participate in this green energy initiative in which we intend to plant 23,000 tree seedlings. We shall ensure that the seedlings are well taken care of so that we have a survival rate of at least 90 percent,” he said.
Malindi Deputy County Commissioner Thuo Ngugi lauded the bank for the initiative saying it would go a long way in enabling the country achieve a ten percent forest cover and called on other institutions to follow suit.
“The government policy is to have a 10 percent tree cover, a feat we have not yet achieved. If you have ten acres, the government has said that you set aside one acre to plant trees,” he said.
Mr. Ngugi said he hoped the Kazi Mitaani programme, which is expected to end this month, would be extended in January to allow the youth to take care of the trees alongside the other activities they have been involved in since July.
“The programme was expected to run for six months but it is our hope that it will be extended so they can water and care for the tree seedlings,” he said.
The DCC warned that the government would take stern actions against illegal loggers, adding that it was illegal for anybody to cut trees in their own farms without authority from the Kenya Forest Service.
Mr. George Kombe, the founder of the Kilifi One Million Trees Community Based Organization said the exercise had in a way created employment for young people as the tree seedlings had been bought from youth groups.
He called on residents to embrace tree planting with a view to assisting the government to achieve its vision of attaining a ten percent forest cover in the country by 2022.
He said his organization was organizing youth groups and football clubs to start tree nurseries saying the CBO was looking for markets from banks and other institutions to buy the seedlings as part of their CSR.
By Emmanuel Masha