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Twenty-three Million Trees to Be Planted in Vihiga in 10 Years

The Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Soipan Tuya has said over 23 million trees were to be planted in Vihiga county in the next 10 years.

The CS stated that the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in collaboration with the county government and other stakeholders would be planting over two million seedlings every year so as to meet this target.

In a speech read by the KFS Board chairperson Peter Korir, Tuya announced the re-introduction of Plantation Establishment for Livelihoods Improvement Scheme (PELIS) in public forest which would allow the locals to grow food crops in the plantations so that they do the weeding to enable the growth of the trees.

During the exercise at the Kibiri forest block in Hamisi Sub County, over 10 thousand seedlings, mainly indigenous species, were planted.

She lamented that illegal gold mining in the area was compromising the conservation and protection of the forest.

Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo pledged to collaborate with the KFS to ensure that the forest cover increases from 35.3 percent to 40 percent in a five-year period.

He disclosed that his administration has rehabilitated 60 hectares of Maragoli hills forest and they intended to add another 20 in the next one year.

Dr. Ottichilo said they initiated a school greening programme in April where they supply seedlings to public primary and secondary schools for planting.

He appealed to the residents who have planted eucalyptus tree species along the river banks and in wetlands to remove them and replace them with indigenous ones as they have led to drying up of the water sources.

The County Commissioner (CC) Felix Watakila urged the residents to grow trees in the homesteads as well as practice agroforestry.

The CC called on the citizenry to cooperate with the administrators and the police by passing information on criminals so as to ensure law and order is upheld.

He warned those bent on committing crimes that the security agencies would deal with them decisively and firmly.

By Sammy Mwibanda

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