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Government to rehabilitate Makunga forest

The government is in the process of re-establishing forest cover on over 252 hectares of Makunga forest land in Saboti forest station within Mt. Elgon national park.
Speaking to KNA Wednesday, Trans Nzoia West Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Abednego Muli said this follows eviction of encroachers on forest land.
He however promised that those who were evicted will be given portions of half acres each to take care of the plantation through the Plantation Establishment and Livelihood Improvement Scheme (PELIS) program.
At least 202 residents had encroached into the forestland claiming to have bought it from a white settler in the name of LunkKeld Sorenson.
“We shall allocate some pieces to the communities under the PELIS plan to plant their crops while taking care of the trees,” he explained.
The DCC said other community members who are not among the 202 will be given some portions of the 730 half pieces through a balloting process.
“They will be allowed to plant crops in the pieces of land that they will be allocated as they take care of the trees that the government will be planting through the department of Kenya Forest Service (KFS),” he explained.
In a separate interview with KNA, County Director of National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Valentine Lala said once given the portions, beneficiaries will be allowed to cultivate until the trees reach maturity levels.
Makunga forestland was originally owned by LunkKeld Sorenson till 1964 when the national government took over and gazetted it to be a public land after independence.
The forestland was then grabbed by locals who occupied it and begun establishing homes and planting crops.
Trans Nzoia County Ecosystem Conservator of Forest Augustine Owate said the government was awarded ownership through court.
He also called on local leaders to mobilize residents to support the initiative noting that some leaders have influenced some locals to resist the program that the government is carrying out.
By Faith Chebukati/Sammy Bor

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