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Short rains tree planting campaign launched

The Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) has launched a short rains tree planting campaign that aims to plant 20,000 trees in two months.

The launch, which coincides with the ongoing Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, aims at accelerating the actions towards the climate change, focusing on increasing the country’s forest cover while creating a green urban environment within Konza Technopolis.

The campaign, which is being undertaken in partnership with Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Kenya Forest Service and primary schools in the region is part of the Konza Greening Programme, whose objective is to establish a 10 million smart tree nursery that will provide a healthy city environment for residents and the neighbouring communities around Konza.

Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) CEO Eng. John Tanui (R) and Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) Regional Director Dr. Eston Mutitu (L) plants a tree at Konza Technopolis. More than 1,000 trees of 15 different species were planted during the event. Photo by Joseph Ng’ang’a

More than 1,000 trees of 15 different species were planted during the launch of the tree planting campaign.

Commenting during the launch of the campaign, KoTDA CEO Eng. John Tanui said that the Authority is committed to planting 20,000 trees during the short rains being anticipated this season.

“We have made a decision to launch this initiative whereby in the next two months, we look forward to planting over 20,000 trees here at the Technopolis. This is part of our Konza greening initiative which aims at increasing our forest cover as a nation,” said Eng. Tanui.

He added that the Technopolis has set aside a seedling nursery and a 50-acre landscape for tree planting, adding that the Authority is committed to augmenting the government’s efforts in environmental conservation and climate mitigation.

The CEO said: “We are committed in this initiative and through working together with our partners, we are on course to support our government on what has been promised even in the ongoing COP 26 event.”

Eng. Tanui also noted that while Africa is urbanizing at a fast rate, both governments and private entities should look into greening urban spaces and accelerate efforts on combating climate change.

In June this year, Konza Technopolis launched the smart tree nursery for the promotion of environmental conservation, economic empowerment and social stability. The smart nursery includes the full automation of potting procedure and smart production of about 20,000 pots per hour.

While commenting on the tree planting exercise, KEFRI Regional Director Dr. Eston Mutitu underscored the need for collaboration and urged stakeholders to join the afforestation cause.

“Whereas we aim to increase the forest cover to over 10 per cent by 2022, we take note that we cannot do this alone and that’s why we joined Konza Technopolis in this exercise today. This is very key in environmental conservation and climate change in general,” said Dr. Mutitu.

He noted that as KEFRI, they chose Konza Technopolis due to its master planning, adding that the Institute would provide trees planting knowledge to the developers at Konza Technopolis.

Commenting on the timing of the exercise, Dr. Mutitu said: “We are trying to make sure that we give these trees a major booster with the short rains which we are anticipating. We are only going to water these trees for two weeks and after the short rains. We shall also be expecting the long rains.”

Konza Technopolis targets to plant at least 10,000 tree seedlings every year, within both the Technopolis and in the surrounding community.

In 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta called on all Kenyans to work towards achieving a minimum of 10 per cent forest cover by 2022 as part of the country’s efforts to address the challenge of climate change.

At the same time, all Ministries, Departments and other State and private agencies were required to allocate 10 per cent of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) budget for tree planting.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a

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