By Michael Opiyo
The government has launched a national tree-planting campaign. The exercise will see 10 million tree seedlings planted during the current rainy season in line with the government’s targets to achieve 10 per cent forest cover by 2022.
The exercise spearheaded by Ministry of Environment and Kenya Water Towers Agency (KWTA), saw over 6, 500 tree seedlings planted in learning institutions in Kajiado County recently.
KWTA acting Director-General Julius Tanui said the exercise aims at ensuring all the five major water towers in the country – Mau, Mount Kenya, Aberdares, Cherangany and Mount Elgon – are conserved.
He said they target to plant 1 million trees in Kajiado County which currently has only 3.5 percent forest cover.
Already 3, 000 seedlings have been planted at Umma University, 2, 000 at Masai Technical Training Institute, 500 seedlings in Namanga Mixed Secondary and 1,000 seedlings in AIC Canaan Academy.
We will make sure we attain 10 percent tree cover by 2022 by planting 10 million trees,” said Prof. Tanui.
“We cannot attain this tree cover if we do not plant trees, we are targeting more learning institutions during the exercise this holiday and immediately after the school open,” added Ag. MD.
He said that the exercise is one of the enabling pillars of the government’s Big Four Agenda. The agency will partner with institutions, county governments, and the local community to achieve the target.
Prof Tunai said the institutions have the means to protect the seedlings to maturity.
“It is not just about planting trees now, it is about making sure that the planted trees attain maturity,” he said.
Umma University Vice-Chancellor Idle Farah said the institution is ready to help in the afforestation of Kenya.
“We are happy the university was selected among institutions in Kajiado County to plant 1 million tree seedlings. We are looking forward to signing a proper Memorandum of Understanding with KWTA to further environmental conservation in Kajiado County,” said Dr. Farah.
The tree planting activity took place in Loitokitok Forest led by Tourism Finance Corporation in collaboration with Loitokitok Community Forest Association that has 1000 members whereby they planted 1000tree seedlings to reforest 400 acres of forest that was deforested.
So far TFC has planted 4000trees with the target to plant 100,000trees in the next 4 years after Cabinet Secretary of Tourism Najib Balala directed all the parastatals in the tourism sector to participate in tree planting to promote environmental preservation.
“We are very much privileged to come back again to plant the tree at Loitokitok Forest where the region currently experiences rainfall, mostly in the month of April and December. The aimed is to reforest Loitokitok The forest which plays a key role as the source of Amboseli ecosystem,” noted TFC Managing Director Jonah T. Orumoi.
He acknowledged and appreciated the cooperation of the LCFA and local living within the forest for their sacrifices to participates in tree planting and also plauded the Kenya Forest Service for providing the seedlings.
TFC will ensure, they bring back the forest to have the indigenous tree. And nature forest to promote tourism, MD embraced.
“Why do we aimed to plant 100,000 tree seedlings, this is because to promote high survival rates of the trees planted. Last year we managed to plant 3000 tree seedlings and now 80 per cent can be confirmed survived, ” Orumoi pointed out.
Loitokitok Forest covers 765.8 acres, however, the local cut down trees some years back but they did not re-planted and what has affected the forest most. Currently, the LCFA lauded the TFC for coming up with such ideas to reforest 400 acres of the forest, said Emmanuel Mayan, Chairperson of LCFA.