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Murang’a targets to attain 17 percent forest cover by 2021

Environmental stakeholders in Murang’a County have made concerted efforts aimed to increase the region’s forest cover to more than 17 percent by 2021.

Currently, the county’s forest cover stands at 14.5 percent but several organizations have come up to support farmers and Kenya Forest Service plant and nurture trees as a way of mitigating climate change.

On Friday, the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) donated 2000 Avocado seedlings to farmers in the lower parts of Kiharu to plant on their farms.

During the seedlings distribution exercise at Kiambicho forest in Murang’a, Principal Secretary for Water, Irrigation and Sanitation Joseph Irungu who graced the occasion informed farmers that they are expected to plant and nurture the seedlings to maturity.

Irungu said during Africa Public Service Week held earlier that senior government officials were directed to spearhead planting of trees in their home counties.

He lauded Murang’a residents for embracing the government’s call to plant trees saying well conserved forests will ensure permanent sources of water.

“There was a time, people could not easily get firewood but currently residents have embraced planting of trees which has seen forest cover in the county go beyond 14 percent,” said the PS.

Irungu said his Ministry is in need of sources of water so to connect to homesteads observing that degradation of forests posed challenges of having permanent rivers where water can be tapped and supplied to people in rural homes and urban centres.

The PS noted that the Water Ministry would continue supporting various initiatives aimed at increasing forest cover in different counties.

An officer with the National Irrigation Authority, Nancy Muthoni observed that several irrigation projects have been initiated in Murang’a to boost farming.

Muthoni revealed the authority is giving out seedlings especially of avocado trees to farmers to plant on their farms.

“The seedlings will go a long way in increasing forest cover and with irrigation projects initiated by NIA, nurturing of the plants will be easy,” she added.

Meanwhile it emerged that with increased forest cover, farmers are terrorized by monkeys which find haven atop the trees.

Deputy county ecosystem conservator Mr. George Nduati noted that some farmers are resorting to cutting trees on their farms to prevent monkeys from invading their farms.

“We appeal to Kenya Wildlife Services to tame and take the monkeys to Aberdares forests to save farmers from losses,” remarked Nduati.

By Bernard Munyao

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