Indigenous fruit trees to be planted to increase forest cover, says Elmi
16th April, 2018
Chief Administrative Secretary, Mohamed Elmi led a delegation from the national and county governments and corporate entities to rehabilitate Likia Forest in Mau. The event was organized by the Agrochemicals Association of Kenya and was attended by local residents under the banner of the Likia Community Forest Association and the Forestry Action Network.
He noted that efforts to reforest Likia have been consistent and the locals have committed to continue providing quality tree seedlings and participate in tree planting activities and maintenance of the seedlings.
The Forestry Action Network appealed to the government to further incentivize the activity to gain more support from residents in the long run. Current incentives include allowing residents to engage in apiculture and livestock grazing inside forest land. The Shamba system is also an effective system under which locals are allowed to farm inside forest land for a limited amount of time while they protect tree seedlings.
The Forestry Action Network also proposed the use of indigenous fruit trees in re-a forestation and a forestation efforts saying that these would motivate residents to take care of the trees for much longer and would later provide an income boost to the economy.
Elmi assured the locals that the Forestry Act provides for these incentives and that the government would evaluate the most suitable indigenous fruit trees for use in subsequent tree planting efforts.
Dr. Ayub Macharia, the Director for Education and Awareness Unit in the Ministry said the cooperation between the locals, corporate entities and the government in forestry conservation was commendable.
In Likia, the government has granted over eighty companies under the banner of the Agrochemicals Association of Kenya more than 100 hectares of land to plant trees. The Community Forest Association in Likia is also very active and has held several successful tree planting expeditions in the past. The residents of Likia, some of whom had encroached into the forest in the past attach a lot of gravity and importance to conserving the forest. They therefore turned up in their numbers to take part in the tree planting exercise.
Dr Macharia averred that with such willing communities, Kenya’s target of achieving at least 10% tree cover by 2022 was realistic. He expressed satisfaction with the progress the country has made in the past one decade and is confident that Kenya was on course to achieve her forestation target. He also noted that there has been a general improvement in the attitude of Kenyans towards tree planting. While he admits that this renewed awareness is mainly as a result of extreme climactic conditions and weather events witnessed in the recent past, he is confident that the environmental activism resulting from this increased awareness will bear positive dividends for Kenya in the future.
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