The County Government of Kisumu has committed to plant 40 million tree seedlings to help achieve the national afforestation agenda of planting at least 2 billion trees by 2022.
In partnership with the National Government and several other state and non- state actors, the PS for Environment and Forestry Dr. Chris Kiptoo alongside Kisumu Governor Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o earlier today presided over a tree planting exercise along River Nyando in Muhoroni before proceeding to launch the 150,000 Tree Seedling Production and Afforestation Center at Menara in Muhoroni Sub County.
The Menara Center with over 1,600 assorted tree seedlings is part of the County’s efforts to raise the forest cover within its area.
Kenya needs to plant at least 2 billion tree seedlings by 2022 in a bid to increase its forest cover. President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a directive that the country has the 10 per cent forest cover achieved by 2022 as opposed to the earlier vision by 2030. The national forest cover currently stands at 7.2% covering 4.2 million hectares having grown from 6.99% 12 years ago.
In that regard, the county has since intensified its efforts to increase the forest cover from the current 0.44 per cent to the recommended 10 per cent. The department of environment has embarked on an aggressive tree planting campaign having set up tree seedling nurseries at Menara in Muhoroni, Pap Kadundo in Seme, Ogoro in Nyakach and Show Ground in Kisumu East Sub Counties.
Speaking at the launch, PS Kiptoo praised the Governor in his efforts to reclaim public spaces. Already, the County has reclaimed Songo, Koru, Nyatigo, Kisian and Kajulu hills already earmarked for restoration.
The PS also assured the county of his support in delivering the afforestation agenda. He noted that Kisumu was the first county to sign to the County Transition Implementation Plan – a Policy framework of up-taking services that were hitherto run by national government through the ministry of environment; a factor that has led to Kisumu being picked as the pilot county for the national Tree Planting Campaign in the region.
“we are going to work with you to fast track the gazzetment of the forests and hills you have earmarked for reforestation”, said the PS
He confirmed that the 2 billion seedlings will be shared by all counties with Kisumu taking up at least 40 million seedlings. To help achieve this target, the national government through Kenya Forestry Research Institute will give the county 1.5 metric tonnes of assorted tree seeds.
The achievement of the 10% forest cover is so critical that a county multi agency committee has been formed to drive its delivery. The County Environment Committee shall be co-chaired by the Governor and the County Commissioner.
Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o on his part said that the county has so far established more than four tree nurseries within its sub counties to help boost afforestation.
“I do hope that this will help boost our forest cover from the current 2 per cent to 10 per cent”. He said
The Governor indicated that the county targets to produce about 500,000 tree seedlings annually from the four tree nurseries established across the county.
He called upon residents to take afforestation more seriously than ever before by allocating parts of their farms to tree growing even as he encouraged them to develop the habit of planting trees in between gardens.
In addition, the Governor says they are working closely with KFS in enhancing afforestation of the 400 hectares Koguta Forest in Nyakach and the 25 hectares Karateng Forest in Kisumu West Sub County.
At the same time, he challenged other counties to work closely with the National Government in order to achieve the national vision for afforestation.
“We in the counties need to work with the National Government in most of these things.
The County CEC in charge of Water and Environment Hon. Salmon Orimba appreciated the role played by partners that have supported the county in its sustainability journey.
He says the county intends to rollout a massive tree planting programme in the schools, forests and public spaces with a target of over 200,000 trees to be planted this season.
He urged community-based organizations to actively engage activities relating to environmental conservation, climate change adaptation and mitigation so as to be ready to take part in the upcoming programme.
Forests are vital natural carbon sinks and play a great part in a country’s efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change.
The exercise brought together participants both state and non-state agencies including Kenya Forest Service, NETFUND, Kenya Water Towers, NEMA, KEFRI, Agro hemicals, Muhoroni and Chemelil Sugar, Kibos Sugar among other Non – State Organizations.
By: Nancy Juma