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Ministry, KVDA collaborate to increase forest cover

The Ministry of East Africa Community (EAC), the ASALs and Regional Development, and the Kerio Valley Development Authority have joined hands to grow trees across various parts of the 23 Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALS) counties, in order to support the Presidential tree growing initiative, which seeks to plant 15 billion trees by 2032.

Speaking when she presided over the tree planting campaign at Oasis Primary School, Race Course Ward, Kesses Sub-county in Uasin Gishu, the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for EAC, the ASALs, and Regional Development, Rebecca Miano, pointed out that environmental conservation is key and that people must protect and conserve the environment, to ensure a peaceful and conducive place to live as well as mitigate against the effects of climate change.

She indicated that through the KVDA Environmental Conservation Department, they have a tree planting initiative which targets to plant 6 million trees from July 2023 to June 30, 2024.

“I am happy to report that after one month we have already planted 1.5 million seedlings. Today, we flagged off 200, 000 seedlings, which will be distributed to 100 schools in Kesses, Soy, and Kapseret constituencies. I am informed that 20 schools have already picked their trees, and each school is getting 2,000 tree and fruit tree seedlings,” she said.

The CS revealed that her ministry has been allocated a target of 5 billion out of the 15 billion target by the President by 2032. She expressed hope that, through collaborations with the local communities and other stakeholders, they will be able to beat the target.

The EAC, ASALs, and Regional Development Ministry, in partnership with KVDA, have in the last two weeks given out 300,000 trees to West Pokot County and 50,000 to Baringo County, and plan to provide another 300,000 trees and fruit trees to Elgeyo Marakwet in the next few weeks.

KVDA Board Chairperson, Mark Chesergon, noted that environmental conservation is a collective responsibility, as he called for cooperation between the residents and the government agencies to protect and conserve the environment.

He added that the Authority is committed to working hand in hand with the EAC, ASALs, and Regional Development Ministry to enhance environmental conservation.

The Board Chairperson acknowledged the area leadership for their cooperation with residents who take part in tree planting as a way of protecting and conserving the environment.

In her remarks, Kesses Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Lilian Cherop, also called on residents to plant more trees to support the President’s Tree Growing Initiative.

She revealed that they have planted 178,000 trees in Kesses Sub-county, excluding those planted by individuals on their farms.

She lauded the CS and the KVDA for donating 200,000 tree seedlings to various public schools, which will be planted as soon as schools reopen.

“My advice to all the stakeholders is that we plant and grow our trees so that we achieve our target by 2032 and that the next generations will be happy to enjoy the best climate ever,” said DCC Cherop.

Others present at the event were the KVDA Managing Director, Sammy Naporos; National Government Administrative Officers (NGAOs); National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) Director, Koome Kiragu; Uasin Gishu KEPSHA Chair, Nicholas Kosgei, Oasis Primary School Administration, led by Headteacher, Ms. Sally Tai, Area MCA, Amos Kiptanui; and other participants.

By Ekuwam Sylvester

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