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Mashariki Television Networks Limited
By Eastern Correspondent
Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire’s administration is set to plant five million trees in the next five years in its target of 30 percent tree cover by 2050.
The 30 percent tree cover was a clarion call by former president Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.
Speaking during an event of scout investiture at the county scouts’ headquarters, Governor Mbarire said the county is committed to dealing with climate change.
The administration has also launched Kenya National Tree Growing Fund to enable Kenya to achieve her forestry climate action commitments. Mbarire said the drought came due to a lack of proper tree cover.
“Our county has faced a severe drought in the past few seasons and as a result, we have decided to venture into tree planting in order to evade such a vice in the future,” she said.
A 2018 report co-sponsored by the Kenya Forest Service and the United Nations Development Programme stated that Kenya lost about 12,000 hectares of forest yearly.
This was due to logging, conversion to farmland, infrastructure expansion, and increasing demand for wood products and firewood. Tree planting helps reverse the effects of climate change by offsetting carbon.
The Kenyan government recently launched a campaign to plant 15 billion indigenous trees by 2032, to restore the nation’s forest cover to about 30 percent. Previous drives saw forest cover rise from 6.9 percent in 2013 to 12.1 percent last year.
Mbarire said she’ll ensure her government allocates funds to cater for the tree planting exercise that will see one million trees planted each year.
“We want to ensure in the President’s plan to plant five billion trees in the next five years we take part and plant five million of them. Our target is one million trees annually.
She said the plan will incorporate the special groups in the society by purchasing the trees they cultivate in their tree nurseries.
The county boss said the drive will kick off after setting aside enough funds to cater for the exercise.
“Our first exercise will start after setting aside some funds to buy trees from our youths and women groups for planting,” she added.
On his side, deputy governor Justus Kinyua lauded the scouts’ movement for assuming the responsibility of inducing positive personal values.
“Our scouts are doing recommendable work in tree planting and we shall be involving them to ensure we support the movement,” he said.
Elinda Muthoni, the scout’s commissioner in Embu County, said the movement has vowed to continue with tree planting to improve the tree cover to keep the county away from a drought.
She said the county boasts of up to 30,000 scouts who will ensure the one million tree target each year is achieved.
“Our law states that environmental conservation is our mandate. We shall embrace tree planting and this will earn every scout a badge namely the conservation badge,” she said.
Forests feed water catchment areas and provide a home for wild animals. About 70 percent of Kenyans depend on firewood and charcoal to cook, and this has a negative effect, especially on their respiratory systems.
The government is looking for ways to reduce the use of firewood and charcoal while cooking to reduce such risks and help conserve the environment.
Adopt-a-Forest is KFS’s strategy to involve organizations, government departments, and other partners, whereby they adopt a forest for a period of fewer than 10 years to plant and nurture trees until they are grown.
500 MILLION TREES
The Country targets 15 billion trees in the next 10 years.
Kenya’s First Lady Rachel Ruto has said her office will work closely with the Kenya Forest Service to improve forest cover across the country.
Through her “Mama Doing Good’ initiative, Mama Rachel is leading a tree-planting exercise that will see millions of trees planted.
The First Lady said this in Kakamega where she adopted 500 acres of Shikusa block, Kakamega forest, and had over 30,000 trees planted.
“My office will plant over 500 million trees to complement government efforts of planting 15 billion by 2032,” she said.
The First Lady said she will also partner with Community Forests Associations across the country, assuring Kenyans that no forest will be converted for any other development activities.
Mama Rachel urged governors’ and MPs’ spouses to join the tree planting exercise, saying the move would attract rainfall and thus enable farmers to produce enough food.
The International Energy Agency data shows aviation accounted for over 2 percent of global energy-related carbon emissions in 2021. It says airline emissions have grown faster in recent decades than road, rail, or shipping.