Kenya needs to plant 2 billion tree seedlings in in order to reach the expected 10 percent forest cover in the country, a researcher with Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) Dr. Robert Nyambati has said.
While saying that Kenya has 7.2 percent forest cover at the moment, Dr. Nyambati said that the government intends to plant 500 million seedlings between now and June 2020.
Speaking at Mba Primary School in Mbooni East Sub-county during the launch of the short rains tree planting season in Makueni County Thursday, the researcher said, “For Kenya to meet the 10 percent forest cover, we need to plant 2 billion tree seedlings in the next 2 to 3 years.”
He disclosed that 3,000 tree seedlings were planted at the school and called upon the local residents to plant in their farms in an effort to increase forest cover in the region, which currently stands at 13 percent.
“We are not only planting in government forest but also in private farms. Of course it will take us a lot of resources to be able to do so. But if we combine efforts, we will be able to reach our target,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, the Makueni County Ecosystem Conservator Mr. Jefferson Kitti said that this short rains they intend to plant over 200,000 tree seedlings in the county.
Mr. Kitti revealed that they have 84,000 tree seedlings, adding that the remaining will come from the County Government of Makueni besides other partners involved in conservation matters.
“We will plant in government forest, private farms, schools and river lines across the county,” he said.
On his part, Mbooni Sub County Deputy County Commissioner Richard Ogwoka urged the local residents to take advantage the heavy rains pounding the area and plant tree seedlings in their farms.
Further, Ogwoka emphasized the need for residents to take good care of the seedlings in a bid to ensure they grew to maturity as way of conserving the environment.
The deputy county commissioner asked the Assistant County Commissioners, chiefs and their assistants to lead by example and plant four seedlings at their officers across the Sub County.
However, he warned local residents to avoid crossing flooded rivers and paths to avert being washed away by the raging rains in the area.
“You need to take time and plant tree seedlings in your farms and offices to reduce the negative effects of climate change. People should avoid crossing flooded rivers and paths,” said Ogwoka.
By Patrick Nyakundi