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Government to partner with Counties to conserve forests

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has mooted a partnership with county governments in an effort to conserve water towers and increase forest cover.

The Ministry’s Principal Secretary (PS), Chris Kiptoo, said the partnership will enable the attainment of 10 per cent forest cover in the country within one year.

Speaking when he commissioned tree planting at Gatare Forest in Murang’a, the PS noted that the collaboration will see more trees being planted in gazetted and non-gazetted forests.

“The Ministry will make arrangements to ensure availability of seedlings and more focus will be directed to water towers to ensure our rivers don’t dry up,” he added.

Kiptoo noted that Murang’a had attained the recommended forest cover percentage mark and had a potential to attain even a higher to supplement the low forest cover within semi-arid counties.

The PS advised farmers to plant bamboo trees in large numbers, noting they were very marketable.

“We have approached investors who can manufacture toothpicks from the tree instead of importing them. There are demo farms in Kaptagat in Rift valley and others in the central region that farmers willing to embark on bamboo tree farming can visit to learn more on the same,” he added.

Kigumo Member of Parliament (MP), Ms Wangari Mwaniki, who hosted the PS requested the Ministry to allocate funds to motivate farmers who have been planting and nurturing trees at Gatare Forest.

The forest which is part of Aberdare escarpment is the main water source for Ndakaini Dam which is the major water reservoir for Nairobi City and its environs.

“We are pleading to the Ministry to provide budgetary support for the management of the forest since it is an important watershed that is feeding water to the neighboring counties, including Nairobi” said Mwaniki.

By Anita Omwenga

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