By: Emily Mikwa
The Chief Administrative Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives Anne Nyaga, today led stakeholders and development partners in planting 413 assorted tree seedlings at the Kisumu Union Primary school in a bid to increase the tree coverage in the region as she launches environmental conservation pillar of the 4-K Clubs.
The initiative dubbed the Green Cities Initiative supported by Food, Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), in line with the county government targets to plant 1,500 tree seedlings comprising shade, ornamental, and fruit trees as a step towards achieving the 10 percent globally accepted tree cover.
Today’s event marks the climax of the tree planting exercise that has been going on in other three identified pilot schools including Usoma, Rabuor, Tido , Kisumu Union Primary Schools and streets within Kisumu County.
The focus is on improving the urban environment, strengthening urban-rural linkages and the resilience of urban systems, services and populations to external shocks. Ensuring access to a healthy environment and healthy diets from sustainable agri-food systems, increasing availability of green spaces through urban and peri-urban forestry,. It also contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation and sustainable resource management.
Prior to the event, the CAS Anne Nyaga flanked by the FAO- Kenya Representative, Madam Carla Mucavi paid a courtesy call to the Deputy Governor, Dr. Matthew Owili in his office where the talks centred on possible areas of collaborations to boost agricultural value chains and increase in food production in the county.
Speaking at the event, The CAS lauded the ongoing initiative on environmental conservation noting that it is key in sustaining agricultural production.
Using the revitalized 4-K Clubs approach in implementing the same, she said is key in equipping the young ones with relevant skills to contribute towards conserving the environment for the future generations.
The CAS commended FAO in their collaborative support both in hardware; purchase of tree seedlings and capacity building by training 48 TOTs that will go a long way in ensuring sustainability of the program not only in schools but also to the community, since the skills acquired will also be cascaded to the households to create impact.
Still on sustainability, she elaborated on strategies in place to achieve the same including: 47 coordinating committees formed and established in all counties, developed manual, a website, technological transfer in place by the agents of change and the establishment of centres of excellence.
She congratulated the Head-teacher and his administration of Union Primary School for the good work evident by trees planted and have established including a kitchen garden that she promised to support with Kitchen garden starter kits, a simple technology that will help the children conserve water and at the same time access safe vegetables for their meals.
Concerning support of youths in agribusiness she said the Ministry through the Enabled Youth Program capacity build youth entrepreneurs and also provide access to finance at zero interest, some as low as 5% and others at commercial rates to support youths who perceive agriculture as a risky venture.
The CECM Education Mr. John Awiti who represented the Governor in the event thanked both the national government and the development Partners for the seamless collaborations. He applauded FAO for the great initiative that he noted would bring a remarkable change in Kisumu Union Primary’s environment.
As an Educationist, he acknowledged the tree planting exercise carried out in schools by the department of Agriculture saying, “Education is the foundation of life, therefore instilling the right mind-set in the pupils at an early age, will promote sustainability of the initiative to benefit the generations to come.”
He further noted that the Governor is passionate about agriculture and environmental conservation, which is top in his transformative agenda. This he said is evident by his focus on green economy and blue economy through the establishment of the Lake Front Development committee that deals with issues of the riparian land.
The by- laws restraining the cutting of trees within the city and repossessing public parks are also strategies the Governor has put in place to promote greening of the city and environmental conservation.
The FAO Representative to Kenya, Carla Mucavi, said she is pleased with the good works the two levels of government are doing in the community to improve livelihoods.
She explained that the Green Cities Initiative aims to bring change to the youth and the urban food systems, adding that the urbanisation challenges brought by climate change need resilient food systems by protecting the environment and creating green spaces.
Madam Mucavi commended the county government for their long-standing collaboration programs geared towards changing the lives and livelihoods of the community and Kisumu residents at large. She called for a concerted effort in tackling the climate change challenges through enabling policies and strategies for efficient and sustainable actions to improve the people’s well-being.
In addition, she thanked the CAS for re launching the 4-K Clubs, which she reiterated as key to change the mind-set and perception of youths on agriculture, while the transfer of technology being significant in fostering more results of the initiative by creation of jobs, earn income and conserve the environment.
Making the pilot schools centres of excellence, she said will promote urban food systems that are resilient and sustainable for future generations. It will also instill important values to build a future that is environmental friendly coupled with increased food production.
On his Part, the CECM for Agriculture, irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries Mr. Gilchrist Okuom thanked the CAS Anne Nyaga for being the transformative agent for change by reviving the 4-K Clubs that will bring solutions on matters food and nutrition challenges in the 21st century with good values inculcated in the children early.
He said, due to lack of spaces in Urban centres, many schools have embraced new technologies in urban agriculture such as the Kitchen gardening for food and for income. He added that tree planting is important in pollution purification.
Apart from tree planting, the nutrition component in the initiative, he said will equip the children with knowledge to produce own food and eat healthy. He promised to keep the 4-K Clubs in the county vibrant as the chairperson and to make Kisumu County the role model in the country.
The Union Primary School Head teacher, Mr. Nyambok expressed his gratitude saying it was a privilege for them to host the occasion and to be selected as one of the four pilot schools in Kisumu County.
He attested to the fact that the initiative is vital in promoting the competency-based curriculum, which enhances critical thinking and problem solution. He further outlines some the activities the 4-K Club members do in the school that sharpen their skills and generate income.
The event also saw youths in agribusiness, specifically in poultry value chain benefit from 35 Choma grills equipped with tongs, hot pots and coolers. This was under the Covid – 19 recovery strategy program by FAO. The grills should earn the youths an income of Ksh.800 per day after training.
Also gracing the event were: the County Commissioner representative, a host of Officials from line departments from both National and County Governments, FAO, Kisumu Union Primary School fraternity, Ramina Paulette Foundation, Kisumu Environment Conservation group, Kisumu Multi talents, KIWASCO among other invited guests.