The County Government of Uasin Gishu aims to plant 5 million tree seedlings during this year’s short rain season, Governor Jackson Mandago has said.
This target, the county boss says will be met by working in collaboration with Kenya Forest Service, local institutions and the residents.
The Governor spoke Tuesday, at his offices when he hosted The Chief Conservator of Forest Mr Julius Kamau who lead a Kenya Forest Service delegation to Uasin Gishu County.
“I want to thank Kenya Forest Service management in Uasin Gishu County and North Rift at large because they have championed collaborative approaches towards conservation and afforestation. Kenya Forest Service officers in this county work closely with the communities and as a result we have no conflict between the locals and KFS as far as conservation of our forests is concerned,” Mandago said.
The county boss also urged KFS to join him in championing for the gazettement of Kaptagat forest as a water tower.
The forest belt is the source of about 20 streams which form rivers flowing into lake Turkana and Victoria.
“My administration welcomes KFS to work with us on commercializing of forests especially for production of timber. This will ease pressure on our main forests and we can then focus on establishing forests like Kaptagat as indigenous forests while farmers grow exotic trees like pine and cypress for timber production”, Mandago said.
Speaking during the courtesy call, environment Chief Executive Mary Njogu pointed out that her department working with KFS has so planted 13 million trees in the last two rainy seasons. This was done in public institutions, along rivers and around water sources like springs, lamps and dams.
Ms Njogu also pointed out that the domino effect of tree planting campaign has seen local youth establish tree nurseries from which they have sold more than 3 million seedlings to government institutions and the farmers in the county.
“I am very pleased to note that the county government , KFS and the residents have established strong forest conservation associations to protect our forests. As an institution we commit to support these associations and I have directed North Rift KFS offices to contract local communities for services like pruning and mass tree planting”, Kamau said.
The chief conservator also said that KFS will work with the community in Kapseret to establish an eco-lodge at Kapsaret Forest whose proceeds will benefit the local residents. He also committed to ensure KFS works with the county administration in establishing tree nurseries which will also develop cash crop and fruit trees which also help in increasing forest cover within private farms.
Kamau later joined Governor Mandago at Kapseret forest where, they launched the annual short rains tree planting season.
Also present during the event were North Rift Chief Conservator Benjamin Kanyili, Environment Chief Officer Simon Kemei, and Wilson Sawe ( Administration & Devolution) among other government officers.