On the 6th of April, 2018 NECC alongside NETFUND and Kenya Water Towers Agency spearheaded the tree planting exercise in Matierio Primary, Nyamira County. This was in line with the directive by the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to roll-out a countrywide tree planting exercise. The projected number of trees planted were 2000 seedlings. KFS was in charge of preparing the ground and digging the holes and prior organization of the event. The Guest speaker was Nyamira County Commissioner, Mr. Isaiah Nakuru.
The headteacher for the school said that it was key to recognize forests’ role in attracting rain. He insisted people need to plant trees even in the private farms. However, he highlighted that a challenge faced was that most areas that were planted trees did not have fences.
The area MCA stated that land scarcity was a major challenge impeding tree planting. Another was encroachment of land by private developers within government institutions. He urged people of Nyamira County to remove the bluegum trees from water catchment areas to avoid rivers and springs from drying up saying blue gums are heavy water consumers.
The Nyamira Ecosystem Conservator, Mr. Kangethe, said that KFS had covered the targetted area so far. He encouraged people to develop tree planting culture.
The Nyamira County Executive Committee Member in charge of Environment, Mr. Samuel Maiko, committed that the county will plant trees during this rainy season as part of increasing tree coverage; this includes planting trees on hilltops.He added that the County Development sessions had been reviewed that people would no longer plant trees near water sources. He said that a nursery was to be established in every ward and encouraged groups to establish tree nurseries. He stated that solid waste management had been addressed in Nyamira, Nyansiongo and Kebirigo. He encouraged people to venture into carbon credits and stated that water towers should be protected.
Ms. Bahati Keranga, Kenya Water Towers Agency Director for Corporate services, stated there was need to give more emphasis on bamboo planting. She encouraged public private partnerships in environmental conservation. It is possible to utilize the environment without negatively affecting it.
The County Commissioner, who was the Chief Guest, said that bluegum is important but needs to be planted away from water sources. He encouraged the residents to look for alternative trees to plant such as Prunus Africana which is planted for its medicinal value. People need to plant trees at home. He stated that there were water towers within the area that needed protection such as Ngora and Sironga Hills. He informed the people on the ban of tree cutting and charcoal burning. He added that fruit trees should also be planted such as avocados and bananas. The seedlings planted were 3,000 in number. He said that the government’s target is to plant 10 million trees by 2022 and surpass the 10% tree cover.
On the 7th of April, 2018 NECC alongside Kenya Water Towers Agency spearheaded the tree planting exercise in Lambwe Forest, Homa Bay County. This was in line with the directive by the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to roll-out a countrywide tree planting exercise. The projected number of trees planted were 2,000 seedlings. KFS was in charge of preparing the ground and digging the holes and prior organization of the event. The Guest speaker was the Kenya Water Towers Agency Representative.
Kanyamua Community Representative stated Lambwe was a major forest land that needed to be restored its former status. In the recent past rain had reduced as occasioned by deforestation. There was need to reforest the area with key emphasis on the East of Lambwe forest that had been degraded.
Lambwe CFA chairman, Mr. Tom Sogo, urged all the heads of departments to engage in reafforestation.
The NECC Secretary, Dr. John Chumo, appreciated the CEC of environment in HomaBay County for the efforts of maintaining a clean and healthy environment. He said that the tree planting exercise was being held countrywide. He added that tree planting should be made a culture, not just an event especially in HomaBay which had a 2.56% forest cover. He was concerned that PELIS programmer had been mismanaged as a forest management too. He highlighted the need to conserve forests as it contributes to food security and prevented water related diseases; the country spends 27 billions shillings a year to treat water borne diseases. He added on the need to involve the community on forest management. He stated that the plastic ban was a good move towards a healthy environment.
The KWS representative said tha Ruma National Park was the only park in the county. He added that it was the one with the highest number of giraffes per square metre; there are 300 giraffes within an area of 150Km2. There are rare species like the Roan antelopes which are only found in Ruma. He said a contributing factor to deforestation was that people in Mbita and Ndiwa burn forest during the month of august as a cultural practice believing that smoke attracts rainfall.As a result the government used a lot of money(12million)annually to fence the forest and replace trees.There was an interlink between forest conservation and human life thus he urged the community to stop practicing backward traditional practices and conserve forests.
KFS Ecosystem conservator urged all the residents of Lambwe to aim at having a 10% tree cover on their private lands to increse tree cover in the county.He added that trees planted were plantation trees which were important for commercial practices and acted as a buffer zone.
The Deputy County Commissioner, Mr. Julius Otieno thanked KFS for organizing the event.He promised to do more publicity for more locals to attend such as a function as the local community to take greater responsibility in forest conservation.He warned the community against forest destruction and promised to take anyone found destroying forests to court.
The CEC Environment and Natural Resources who was the chief guest reminisced that on 12th May 2012,there was very heavy rainfall in Gwasi hills which led to a landslide.Recently,all the untreated sewage in the treatment plant had flowed into the lake due to flooding.Environmental issues in the area thus could not be ignored in the area. For Afforestation ,the county had a budget and a target of 6% tree cover aiming at Gwasi hills and Lambwe hills before 2022. He promised to send a request to KWTA so that the gazetted water towers were gazetted thus protected by the government.He also encouraged the area residents to plant more cashew nuts, mangoes, bamboo trees, avocados and eucalyptus as they were more beneficial and as compared to blue gum.
Ms. Bahati Keranga, Kenya Water Towers Agency Director for Corporate services,who was the chief guest assured the County Government of their support especially in gazetteer of water towers.She said that the governments vision was to achieve a 10% tree cover in the country before 2022.There had been several events as the one going on in Lambwe all around the country as build up for the national tree planting day.She appreciated KFS for the work they had done and urged the community to work together with KFS to conserve their God given resource.