Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Home > Counties > KFS strategizes to eliminate charcoal burning in West Pokot

KFS strategizes to eliminate charcoal burning in West Pokot

The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in West Pokot County has launched mechanisms to stop charcoal burning in the region in a bid to mitigate climate change in the region.

Charcoal burning has been for a long time a source of livelihood among the county residents, an activity that has resulted to the adverse destruction of forests and reduction of region’s forest cover.

According to the KFS County Forest Conservator Mr. Fredrick Ashiono, charcoal burning has spread mostly in the dry land areas like Kacheliba, Pokot North, Pokot Central and some parts of Pokot South.

Ashiono expressed regret that some locals have intruded into forested areas to practice farming in fragile areas that lead to soil erosion. “People have invaded forest areas, settled and practicing farming. These practices are not friendly to the environment since they exposes the steep areas to gulley erosions and landslides,” he explained.

Speaking to during stakeholders meeting at a Kapenguria Hotel, Ashiono observed that the landslides that occurred in 2019 and 2020 in the region have left families that lost their loved ones shocked to date.

Ashiono said KFS in collaboration with other stakeholders among them the Ministry of Agriculture have introduced fruit trees like mangoes that can do well in riparian lands to protect the rivers, prevent soil erosion and help increase tree cover in the region.

“Mango fruits will help the community have an alternative source of income and in the process, eliminate wanton destruction of trees through charcoal burning,” stated the conservator.

Ashiono stated that there are plans by the agriculture sector to open up a fruit processing plant in West Pokot County in order to intensify fruit farming among the locals.

The KFS officer noted that they have strategized to create awareness among the locals through the chiefs’ public forums on the effects of charcoal burning in Pokot North, Central and South affected areas.

“We are encouraging farmers to practice mixed farming because some trees replenish soils and support crops for better yields through mulching,” said the conservator. He appealed to the county government legislators to set up policies on charcoal burning

Weiwei ward administrator Ms. Christine Kalyakamur expressed her sadness over the 2019 landslide that cost several lives attributing the disaster to deforestation.

“Clearing forests for farming, cultivations along riverbanks and settling on poor topographic parts have resulted in prevalent soil erosion and landslides,” observed Kalyakamu, adding that the locals engage in large-scale charcoal burning for distribution to the neighbouring counties.

“The wanton cutting down of trees for charcoal business has led to a huge reduction in our forest cover thus exposing the most productive soil to erosion. This has led to some of our arable lands being unproductive thus leading to food insecurity,” said the ward administrator.

Kalyakamur urged residents to plant more trees to control soil erosion to help combat effects of climate change.

By Richard Muhambe and Maurice Osore

Leave a Reply