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FAO to help restore Mt. Elgon Forest

Trans Nzoia County is set to benefit from a US$ 6 million (Sh. 618 million) from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) towards the restoration of Mt. Elgon Forest.

The Funds will go towards activities meant to restore the degraded forest ecosystem, with the view of enhancing climatic conditions for sustainable food productivity.

This will include tree planting, capacity building and adoption of relevant policies, that will ensure realization of the goal of the financing.

Speaking to KNA, Monday, County Executive (CEC) for Environment and Natural Resources, Andrew Musungu, revealed that the programme was set to commence in due course.

The CEC pointed out that relevant policy framework for the proposed activities has already been shared with the donor, as well as other stakeholders.

Mr. John Mengw’a, the Department’s Chief Officer, reiterated that the laid down plans to ensure the programme yielded envisioned fruits for the general public are in place.

The National Government through relevant State Departments as well as local communities will be key stakeholders in the project that will also see improved water catchment at the source of the Kiptogot River, whose water has been tapped and connected to supply to residents of Endebes and Kwanza constituencies.

Director of Programmes, Projects and Strategic Initiatives in the Ministry of Environment Ms. Agnes Yobterik, said the Scheme will also be part of increasing tree cover and water catchment protection.

County Agriculture Chief Officer (CO), Robert Musikoyo, observed that the move will go a long way in ensuring favorable weather conditions for food production that will in turn result to food security.

The CO at the same time underscored the importance of planting trees that bear fruits which can as well be commercialized without necessarily affecting the environment through chopping down of trees.

Local communities are also anticipated to benefit from diverse benefits that come along with the project during its implementation time, as well as thereafter.

Already the County Government had allocated Sh.20 million towards conserving the environment and the move by FAO, is a plus to the initiative.

The Government has been engaging in efforts aimed at increasing tree cover to at least 20 per cent in the whole Country.

Efforts by the County Administration has seen the County reach 18 per cent tree cover even as the leadership strives to reach a 25 per cent mark by the end of next year.

By Valarie Kosuri

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