The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in Kisii County has been urged to train residents on matters of tree planting in order to increase the forest cover and tree cover in the region.
Speaking during the launch of Kisii County tree growing and restoration campaign at Nyangweta Forest in South Mugirango Constituency, State Department for Industry Secretary of Administration, Samuel Njora who represented the PS, Dr Juma Mukhwana said community members lack knowledge of the specific types of trees that should be planted in designated areas.
“I challenge the Conservators with extensive knowledge on the types of trees that can do well in different areas to educate the community so that they know where to plant specific trees in order for us to increase the forest cover,” Njora said.
He encouraged residents who conduct farming activities near water catchment areas to ensure they plant tree species that can protect the surrounding forests.
Further, the Secretary called upon the county government to be at the forefront in protecting public land from human encroachment, especially among the residents who cut down trees to create space for building their homes.
In addition, Njora noted that communities only plant trees during specific functions and urged the residents to not only plant trees regularly, but also take care of the trees that had been planted during the launch.
The launch which saw 17,241 indigenous tree seedlings planted in Kisii, was part of the county’s effort to support Kenya’s 15 billion Trees Campaign aimed at increasing the forest cover and tree cover countrywide.
Gucha South Deputy County Commissioner, Samuel Towett who represented the County Commissioner said the National Government Administrative Officers (NGAO) will partner with various stakeholders within the county to ensure they fulfill the government’s directive of planting 3000 tree seedlings in every location.
The DCC noted a multi-agency approach is key to increasing the forest cover and tree cover to 30 per cent by 2032 adding that students in schools have the urge to plant trees since they have been trained on the importance of planting trees.
On his part, Kisii County Forest Conservator, Wellington Ndaka pointed out that Kisii has a tree cover of 26 per cent and a forest cover of 15 per cent, and is projecting to reach 30 per cent for both by 2032.
Ndaka noted that despite the county having natural forests, county forests, community forests, and private forests, it is the community members that have large parcels of land that can accommodate more trees. He urged the community members to plant more trees.
By Mercy Osongo and Vincent Nyambane