7 March 2018

Kenya: CS Tobiko Launches Tree Planting Crusade

Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko says the country will plant 235 million trees by 2022.

The planting, he said, will put the country on the right path to achieving 13 to 15 per cent forest cover by 2022; which is more than the previously set 10 per cent by 2030.

Speaking on Wednesday as he launched the National Tree Planting Season Programme at the Ngong Forest Reserve, Mr Tobiko said that each county will be required to plant a minimum of a million tree seedlings every year for the next few years to ensure this target is met.

"This development is partly in line with the Forest Resources Management and Logging Activities Task Force, which was recently set up by Deputy President William Ruto to protect forests and water catchment areas from degradation.

"Kenyans are encouraged to go out and plant as many trees as possible this year to help reverse environmental degradation and double our forest cover," he said.

MASS MOBILISATION

Mr Tobiko noted that as the national tree planting campaign kicks off, corporates, schools, disciplined forces and individuals, among others, should join hands to ensure a sustained adoption of a tree planting and nurturing culture in the country.

He added that the moratorium on logging and tree harvesting in public forests for 90 days will still run its course and afterwards a way charted on whether to still extend the suspension or lift it, depending on the forest cover prospects.

"We realise that logging and tree harvesting also contribute to the economy by developing the manufacturing industry.

"However, we have to ensure a balance between these activities and protecting the environment, to ensure our forests hold," he said, adding that investors in the sector should be patient as deliberations to amicably resolve the issue continue.

CHARCOAL

Mr Tobiko further proposed that to bolster the tree planting and forest conservation nature in people, those involved should only be given gratuity depending on their contribution to the forest cover increase cause.

"Promotions and recruitment, especially of those working in this sector, should be on the basis of the contribution one makes in increasing forest cover," he suggested.

The tree planting exercise was replicated in Mwingi, Kitui County, where a group of youth planted trees to replace those felled by charcoal burners.

REAFFORESTATION

Speaking at Mwingi School for Children with Special Needs, Mr Peter Muyaui, the chairman of Mwingi Youths for Development Forum, said the group will plant a million trees in the county by the end of this year, starting this rainy season.

"There is a great need to plant trees in our area since illegal charcoal business has put a big dent on our environment," Mr Muyaui said.

He called on the county government to support their initiative by providing more seedlings and ensuring there is enough water for the trees so that they thrive.

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