The Government is keen on working with Tech firms and ICT Ministry in a bid to monetise forest resources and benefit from carbon credit opportunities.
State Department for Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Abraham Korir Sing’oei said there is an enormous opportunity that the Kenya Forest Service and farmers across the country can tap from the carbon credit.
“We can monetise these resources through the whole framework of carbon credit. Under international law, there are now frameworks under the Paris declaration and other several frameworks touching on the environment,” said the PS
The PS explained that there are mechanism in place in which the country can be able to reap monetary benefits from the environmental services.
He singled out Kenya Forest Service which is the agency in charge of forests and even individual farmers as the would-be beneficiaries of the programme.
“If we plant tress we can be paid, as Kenya Forest Services or as a farmer with trees in your farm we can be able to price how much carbon you are saving the planet from and get paid on that,” added Sing’oei.
The PS said that the country was currently reeling from the effects of climate change caused mainly by forest degradation insisting that the country grow trees differently using technology.
“There are three problems caused by forest degradation which are interrelated and these are climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution of the air which has led to rise in respiratory diseases,” expounded the PS.
He added that effects of climate change which has brought up drought has led to loss of over two million animals in the last two years, terming it as a huge loss to incur as a country as it runs into hundreds of billions. “The disease burden also sucks a lot of our resources in the health sector,” he said.
He asserted that it is for these reasons that the president in his wisdom and advice from scientists started the national tree growing and rehabilitation programme which is being launched today.
The PS lauded the close collaboration between the forestry agency and the members of the community saying it was impossible for the agency to look after the forest alone.
“We need to work together from top to bottom and Bottom to up, we even need to have partnerships with local private sectors that are keen on conserving the environment. The Government is serious about environmental conservation, it is serious on reversing the negative effects of climate change,” said the PS during a tree planting Exercise at Kibunja Forest Station in Koibatek.
Sing’oei was accompanied by State Department for Livestock PS Harry Kimtai who warned livestock farmers from grazing their livestock in the forests as they have been found to destroy trees.
He said that the world was in a crisis due to climate change and that people should plant trees now or face the consequences of climate change.
“Farmers rely on the forest resources as they get wood to build bee hives as well as the nectar that the bees need to make honey,” added Kimtai on the importance of trees.
State Department for ICT and The Digital Economy PS Eng John Tanui who was also present encouraged research institutions to come up with tree varieties that can adapt to different climatic conditions saying trees were important as they improve our environment.
His sentiments were also shared by Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi who said trees are life as they are very important to human life as they also aid water resources conservation.
Cheboi said he will advocate for the reintroduction of Plantation Establishment and Livelihood Improvement Scheme but with tougher conditions that those farming in the forests ensure 100 per cent survival rate of planted trees.
He called on the national government to recruit more forest rangers especially from the locals bordering the forest saying his government will support by recruiting forest scouts to help in forest conservation.
On his part Baringo, County Commissioner Abdirisack Jaldesa said the national Government Administration will mobilise chiefs in 124 locations of Baringo to plant 3000 tree seedlings as coordinators in location.
The CC stated that they had brought on board all government institutions including KEFRI which will assist on seedling species site matching.
“It’s not planting, but growing the trees, there is a difference between the two as the latter ensures the survival of the trees by looking after their needs, and the chiefs will be giving weekly reports of the survival of the trees planted,” said Jaldessa.
He said that climate change is a serious issue in Baringo as it has led to floods and drought which has led to loss of infrastructure and other resources.
During the exercise over 250 tree seedlings of varieties ranging from Bamboo, podo and other indigenous trees were planted at the forest which borders the Nakuru-Eldoret highway.
By Christopher Kiprop and Benson Kelio