Migori County has embarked on achieving the maximum forest cover target set by President Uhuru Kenyatta in March 2019.
Marking the tree planting event, Migori County Commissioner, Mr Meru Mwangi, who was the Chief Guest, said that he is on a course to change the forest cover statistics of Migori County which showed that the county had a forest cover of 0.6 percent in the early 2000s.
“As per the statistics of 2000, Migori County had a forest cover of about 0.6 per cent. After 20 years, the county forest coverage has increased to around 2 percent and we want to move to 10 percent by the end of 2022, a target set by President Uhuru,” said Mr Mwangi.
The official was speaking at the launch of the short-rains tree planting exercise at Siruti Technical Vocational College in Awendo Sub County.
The tree planting exercise was steered by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in partnership with Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI) and the forest cover implementation committee headed by the County Commissioner.
In March 2019, during the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) meeting held in Gigiri Nairobi, President Kenyatta said his administration has identified forestry as a key sector of investment in the realisation of the country’s developmental agenda.
President Uhuru said that the implementation of the National Green Growth Strategy has set clear restoration targets aimed at achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In line with the President’s directive of ensuring Kenya has 10 percent forest cover by the end of 2022, Meru said that as a county, their target is to plant over 6000 trees by April 2022.
He said that this would be done in two phases where the first phase would see a total of 3000 trees planted this October.
“Today we are here to show commitment and on behalf of our government and our people. I am pledging that by April 2022, we want to reach a minimum of 10 percent forest cover in our county,” noted Meru.
He pointed out that deforestation and degradation of the environment ultimately undermine biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation as well as adaptation and that the loss of forest cover exacerbated the impacts of climate change leading to natural hazards such as droughts and floods.
Meru noted that they would be counting on students once the schools resumed and similarly asked the board members of Siruti Technical Institute to help them achieve their target by planting at least 1100 trees through the help of their students.
By Polycarp Ochieng