The Uasin Gishu County plans to leverage on planting of Bamboo in its campaign to achieve 10% forest cover in the county as well as boost environmental conservation.
The Environment Department targets to plant more than 5,000 bamboo tree seedlings during the current planting season with 2000 seedlings already planted at Kapseret forest that will be used as a demonstration centre.
Speaking during the launch of the campaign at Kapseret, the Uasin Gishu Governor, Jackson Mandago said apart from being a good source of wood, bamboo can mitigate the effects of climate change that was already being experienced even in the county.
Mandago urged the residents to plant more trees in their farms other than the ones planted by the county and national governments in public forests.
To ensure the seedlings the plant grow and managed properly, the governor advised the residents to always seek professional guidance from the Kenya Forest Services (KFS).
“Each individual has a task of conserving the environment for us and the future generations, therefore, let’s each and every one of us plant at least some trees every rainy season,” he added.
The Environment Chief Executive Committee member, Mary Njogu said bamboo trees are the best in air purification, reducing soil erosion and also cleaning water among other benefits.
Speaking recently during an open day at Turbo research centre in Uasin Gishu county Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI), Rift Valley Eco-research Programme Regional Director, Dr. David Langat said the Institute had identified fast growing bamboo species that can support paper mills and small cottage industries following a 30-year research.
KEFRI said they have been able to identify different bamboo varieties that can be grown in different ecological zones in the country.
Dr. Langat said bamboo had proven to be potentially good in soil erosion control, water recharge, climate change mitigation and adaptation.
According to the national bamboo policy 2019, bamboo forests once covered over 300,000 hectares but this has reduced to about 100,000 ha concentrated in Aberdare ranges, Mau forest, and Mount Kenya, Mount Elgon and Cherangany hills.
There are 1250 different species of bamboo. Bamboo can be used in making furniture, fabrics, processed flooring as well as a source of renewable energy.
By Kiptanui Cherono