Kenya Forest Service project to support food security and agroforestry

The Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) Julius Kamau has today led the handover of assorted tree nursery implements under the Green Zones Development Support Project Phase II (GZDSPII) to a newly established Kenya Forest Service (KFS) tree nursery in Nyeri County. The activity also involved the issuance of farm implements to farmers in the county towards promoting food security and agroforestry.

Similar support has already been extended to farmers in Baringo, Kisii, Kirinyaga, Bomet, Murang’a, Kericho, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Nakuru, Embu, Meru, Machakos, and Tharaka-Nithi Counties.

The CCF was received by KFS Regional/County Officers and the County Commissioner, Nyeri County Mr. Loyford Kibaara, together with his County Security Team.

He was also joined by Nyeri County Deputy Governor Dr. Caroline Karugu, and her Siaya Counterpart Dr. James Okumbe who was on a benchmarking tour to appreciate forestry models adopted in the county with a tree cover of 38 percent, noting that Siaya’s tree cover stood at 0.4%. KFS is already implementing a robust model to improve tree cover in low tree cover counties including Siaya.

The 200 assorted equipment and 300,000 poly tubes issued are part of a larger consignment of 4,000 tools and 9,000,000 poly tubes (currently being distributed to 22 forest stations, and 20 Sub-county nurseries) obtained through GZDSPII Project, which is part-funded by the Government of Kenya and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to a tune of 6 Billion Kenya Shillings for the period 2019-2025.
Speaking during the handover, CCF Kamau noted the critical connection that the environment plays in food security and community livelihood. He said the newly established nursery aims to raise 300,000 tree seedlings that would; “Speak to the needs of the community such as through the provision of fruit trees.”

Furthermore, he added that “If issues of livelihood and food security are not addressed, then forest resources would be at risk hence the need to promote best agroforestry and farming practices within forest adjacent communities.”

Kamau appreciated the job creation the nursery has created at a critical time when the world is facing a #coronavirus pandemic that has led to the loss of jobs even at a local level.

While appreciating the County Administration for concerted collaborative efforts towards forestry in the region, the CCF called for more interventions through partnerships towards interesting on-farm tree farming through support from security organs as well as the county government. He thanked the County Commissioner for the good collaboration in ensuring forest resources protection in the county.

He called for counties countrywide to support extension services that would advise and provide knowledge on agroforestry in farmlands so as to increase the national tree cover to 10% by 2022.

The CCF insisted on the moratorium of all logging activities in public and community lands being in place and emphasized the need to strictly follow and adhere to laid down procedures governing both public and private farmland tree harvesting.

The County Commissioner reaffirmed his commitment to promoting tree growing and working together with KFS officers to ensure forest resources are protected.

On their part, the Deputy Governors appreciate the technical support provided by the Service towards raising awareness on forestry, food security, and conservation of the environment. Dr. Karugu, as the chair of Deputy Governor’s caucus, reiterated the importance of knowledge and information sharing by all government organs towards the goal of fulfilling national goals pegged on environmental matters such as the Big 4 Agenda.

The CCF was accompanied by Gerome Mwanzia (GZDSPII Project Manager) among other senior regional KFS officers and staff.

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