The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in conjunction with the County Government of Homa Bay have spearheaded a tree planting drive in Homa-Bay County in a bid to improve the county’s forest cover.
During a ceremony launched at Got Rabuor Primary School in Homa Bay Town today, over 300 seedlings of different tree species were planted.
Speaking at the ceremony, Assistant County Commissioner (ACC), Asego Division, Henry Kereya called upon the local community and all the stakeholders to heed a call by President Uhuru Kenyatta to work towards achieving at least 10 per cent forest cover in the country.
“It is a collective responsibility for the public, government agencies and other partners to assist the KFS in achieving the 10 per cent forest cover directed by the president,” said Kereya.
He also said that tree planting was one of the core government priorities on environmental conservation. He adviced residents to ensure that for every tree cut down, two are planted.
County Ecosystem Conservator, David Muigai lauded the county government for signing the Transition Implementation Plan urged the latter to employ forest officers in the field.
“I am glad that the county government has already signed the transition implementation plan but I urge them to ensure that forest officers were deployed at the Sub-County level, “said Muigai.
He also said that the County is planning to celebrate World Environmental Day on June 10 in Wangchieng’ Ward, Rachuonyo North Sub-County.
Got Rabuor School Deputy Head Teacher, Caren Nyabute, warned members of the community against destroying the trees within the school compound by letting their livestock feed on them.
“We have tried to plant trees within our compound but we find it hard to maintain them due to destruction caused by the livestock belonging to the members of the public. Please, keep away your cattle,” Nyabute warned members of the community.
In response to the concerns, Kereya directed area chiefs to be vigilant and ensure that stray livestock owners were brought to book.
Elsewhere over 100,000 trees are set to be planted in schools and learning institutions in Kajiado County over the next four years in a bid to mitigate the effects of climate change.
The tree planting drive that targets 100 learning institutions is aimed at improving tree cover in the largely semi-arid county.
The drive champions learners to understand the value of environmental conservation as each learner is expected to adopt a tree by planting it and tending it to maturity.
The programme spearheaded by Our Lady Queen of Mercy Academy Kitengela, Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Forest Research Institute, Environment Ministry among other partners has so far seen 700 tree species planted in Isinya Boys Secondary school in 2021.
Over the weekend, 6000 seedlings were planted at the International Teachers Training Institute (ITTC) in Isinya with more schools targeted ahead of the World Environmental Day to be marked on June 5.
Among the tree species planted were fruit trees like oranges, mangoes, lemons and avocados trees in a bid to promote food security.
Godfrey Shisia, a tutor at the ITTC urged other institutions to take up the tree planting program to make promote forest cover and preserve water catchment areas.
“Trees not only make the environment beautiful but they are also a source of medicine and provide us with shades. I urge other institutions to embark on the tree planting drive so as to ensure Kenya attains 10 per cent forest cover by 2022.” Shisia said.
Maya Ngina, a student said she had planted four trees and plans to adopt them until they can grow on their own.
She urged other learners to plant trees and take care of them so that they can contribute to environmental conservation.
Meanwhile the Machakos County government, in partnership with NEMA, Kenya Forest Service, and Mabati Rolling Mills, came together to plant 1000 trees on World Environment Day.
Speaking at Kenyatta stadium in Machakos, Eng Morris Aluanga who is the County Executive Committee Member for Water, Irrigation, Environment, Climate Change, and Natural Resources, said the county government projection was to plant 10,000 trees to mark the World’s Environment Day.
Aluanga who doubles up as the acting CECM for Youth, Sports, Culture, and Tourism said that they are purchasing the trees from the youths to encourage them to engage in environmental conservation projects.
Aluanga promised to work together with the Machakos municipality to ensure the county is clean by collecting garbage and encouraged the residents to make use of the tanks situated within the bus park.
“We will work with Machakos Municipality to ensure you have enough water, and ensure that the bus park is clean,” said Aluanga.
He also promised to add more water tanks and urged the residents to be responsible and not destroy public resources since it takes a lot of funds to replace them yet they should be used in other projects.