The government has targeted to plant at least 2 billion trees by the year 2022.
Accordingly, the official launch of the short rains season tree planting campaign started off on a good footing on Tuesday, with several Cabinet Secretaries leading by example.
Among the Cabinet Secretaries present during the tree planting exercise at the Ngong forest were Rachel Omamo (Defence), Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs), Charles Keter (Energy), Margaret Kobia (Public Service Youth and Gender Affairs) and Amina Mohamed (Sports).
The tree planting campaign which has a target of increasing the country’s forest cover from the current 7 percent to10 percent, will be done in two main seasons including March during the long rains and in October during the short rains.
The Environment and Forestry CS, Keriako Tobiko, speaking during the launch of the campaign at Ngong Forest grounds acknowledged that the forests belong to the people and the government is only protecting them for the present and future generations.
He added that, “Our Environment, forestry, water and natural resources go beyond the ministry so every agency and department of government is affected and should be concerned about maters of environment since climate change is real.”
“Every Kenyan should plant at least one tree in honor of Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei who have done us proud by breaking world marathon records,” Tobiko added.
The Environment and forestry Principal Secretary Ms Betty Maina urged all Kenyans to collaborate since this was not a conservation just targeting tourists, but it was essential for our own survival.
“Our main target in the tree planting campaign are the Western and Eastern regions,” Maina stated.
The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) Chairman, Dr. Peter Kinyua pointed out that the campaign comes against the backdrop of increased pressure on forest resources to sustain the growing demands for food, space, water, housing and the rapidly growing population.
“We cannot undermine the role of the forests since it’s a livelihood base for majority of Kenyan households and a bedrock of growth and developments of all the productive sectors of the economy, including agriculture, water, tourism and manufacturing,” he added.
The Chairman said they are working together with Net fund, Greenbelt movement, Kenya Forest Services (KFS), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya Water Towers (KWT) and the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), who all agree that increased negative effect of climate change in Kenya’s economic development will pose a threat to the realization of vision 2030 and the Big 4 Agenda.
By Collins Juma