FORESTRY TO RECEIVE SHOT IN THE ARM
The African Development Bank is considering a 50 million United States dollar development assistance to Kenya if an ongoing appraisal mission on the forestry sub-sector is successful.
The Principal Secretary for Environment Mr. Charles Sunkuli said if successful the funds would be used to strengthen the human resource base and upgrade technology of the Kenya Forest Service whose capacity was currently below the expected standards.
The funds would be utilized through the “Green Zones Development Support Project Phase 2”, whose appraisal mission runs between 19th -30th March 2018.
He noted that KFS would be targeting to increase the level of forest rangers from the current 2,500 to over 5,000 in five years in a bid to install a 24 hour forest surveillance that would forestall the rampant illegal felling of trees and charcoal burning.
Mr. Sunkuli expressed concern that illegal charcoal burning in protected forests was a booming business during night fall owing to the inadequate number of forest rangers patrolling vast areas of plantations.
The PS told a visiting ADB mission who paid a courtesy call on him today that the Ministry of Environment and Forestry was focusing on forests protection and conservation in the areas of communication systems, Inventory, technology and observation techniques.
He noted that future development assistance should center on improving livelihoods for communities living near forests who lacked credit facilities and conservation awareness.
Mr Sunkuli said “future support should diversify from bee keeping to commercial charcoal production in individual farms” adding that the Ministry was committed to support the forestry sector to contribute immensely to the national economy.
The ADB team was led by Mr. Onesmus Maina, a senior Agricultural Expert and comprised Mr. Ambrose Oroda, a climate change expert and Mr. Sam Sakwa. Others in the appraisal mission were M/S Agnes Yobterik, Director of Programs and Projects in the Ministry and KFS officials Mr. Gitonga Mathenge and Mr. Jerome Mwanzia.
The ADB team leader said that the Bank would explore ways of increasing funding to the Forestry sub-sector and advocate for value addition to the forestry products.
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