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Government launches county tree-growing campaign

The Uasin Gishu County Commissioner, Dr. Eddyson Nyale, has affirmed the government’s commitment to achieve a 30 percent forest cover by the year 2032 as indicated by the president, who through the tree-growing campaign urged the members of the public to take part in the campaign to grow 30 billion trees by 2032.

Addressing the members of the public during the launch of the county tree growing campaign at Kapilat Forest in Kesses Sub County, Uasin Gishu, Dr. Nyale called on the citizens, government agencies and other partners to take part in the campaign by growing trees on both government land and on their farms in order to help the government achieve its goal.

The ceremony comes months after the launch of the Regional Tree Growing Campaign at Singalo Forest by Rift Valley Regional Coordinator (RC) Abdi Hassan in March this year.

He called on the Deputy County Commissioners (DCCs) to continue the campaign at the sub-county level and collaborate with other local administrators to cascade down to the ward level in order to ensure full implementation of the national tree-growing campaign.

“We all know the importance of trees; that is why we have come together, as all departments of government, to join hands with citizens in this journey to grow trees,” he said.

“Today we have managed to plant 20,000 trees and to add to the initial that we planted since the launch of the campaign, it brings the total number to 1.85 million trees, both in the farmers’ farms and government’s forests,” added Dr. Nyale.

The CC pointed out that the national government works closely with the county government to facilitate the tree growing campaign.

He urged the 48 sawmillers in the county to ensure transparency and follow laid-down protocols in harvesting of trees for timber and other purposes, adding that the government supports timber industry, which contributes to about 3.6 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic product (GDP).

“You should work in accordance with the law as a multi-agency team of the agencies involved in determining which trees are ready for harvest and which are not; there are no short cuts; if you work alone, you will suffer the consequences alone,” warned Dr. Nyale.

He noted that the government has opened up the forests for logging with regulated post harvesting after seeing it as a way to improve the economy and save the local sawmillers from the expense of importing timber from neighbouring countries.

Uasin County Forest Conservator Mr. Joseph Kingori pointed out that the citizens have the individual responsibility to plant and take care of forests since they are the ones whose activities contributed to depletion of trees, which has resulted in the global issue of climate change.

He noted that Uasin Gishu has 8.04 percent tree cover in its one block forest, referred to as North Mau Forest block.

Uasin Gishu County Forest Conservator (CFC) Mr Joseph Kingori addressing the public during the launch of the County Tree Growing Campaign, at Kapilat Forest, Kesses Sub County, Uasin Gishu.

“We are urged to grow trees, which help in the reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by a process called photosynthesis,” he said.

He revealed that the country currently has 12.3 percent forest cover and that the government, through the tree-growing campaign, intends to increase cover to 30 percent by planting 15 billion trees in the next five years.

Additionally, he said that the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has rolled out recruitment of 4000 youth called Green Army to help in the tree planting. He called on the members of the public, especially the youth, to take part in the campaign by growing trees in their farms, noting that the 4000 youth are not enough to help the government achieve its target.

“Let’s establish tree nurseries in our communities to enable us grow trees. As Uasin Gishu, we have been tasked to plant 149 million trees in the next 10 years; this year alone, we are expected to plant 14 million trees. Let’s work hard to achieve this target,” said Mr. Kingori.

In her remarks, Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) representative Michelle Akinyi urged members of the public and other government agencies to acquire certified and high-quality tree seeds from the agency in order to grow trees with high survival rate.

She further urged the people to download the Jaza Miti application from the Google Play Store, which will provide an inquiry platform to advise people on which tree species are suitable for certain areas and other forms of inquiries.

Ms. Akinyi challenged the members of the communities to claim their individual share in the 15 billion tree target that the government intends to achieve in the next five years.

On his part, Kesses Sub County Administrator Joseph Bett reiterated the commitment of the county administration to work together with the national government to support the president’s initiative to plant trees. He noted that the county currently runs a programme of donating 200 tree seedlings to each public institution, like schools, among others.

By Ekuwam Sylvester

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