The Trans Nzoia County Government has set an ambitious target of attaining 30% of tree cover by 2030. Currently, the county’s forest cover stands at 13.16% while tree cover stands at 15.16%.
Speaking during the nationwide tree planting day at Kimothon Forest in Endebess Sub County, Governor George Natembeya said that the county is committed to increasing its tree cover to mitigate the effects of climate change and improve the livelihoods of its residents.
“Forests are the lungs of the world. They filter out sediments and purify water and clean the air we breathe, the forests are also home to all forms of wildlife and provide sustenance to all communities across the world.” the governor said.
The governor also said that the county has set aside 2% of its development budget for climate change and environment related projects. The county has also enacted relevant policies and legislation to combat climate change and also enhance forests.
“The county intends to plant more than 11 million trees annually,” the governor said. “In the last FY, the county surpassed the target by planting 1.1 million through multi-stakeholders engagement.”
In this financial year, the county supported five community groups’ tree nurseries. Also the county has set aside 2.5 million to support existing community tree nurseries by procuring relevant assorted tree nurseries tools and equipment.
The county also has a target of rehabilitating degraded forests like Kapolet, Sikhendu and Kitale township forests. In this financial year, the county rehabilitated 10ha of Sikhendu forest and in addition planted around 20,000 seedlings in Kapolet forest.
The governor also spoke about the effects of climate change that are being felt in Trans Nzoia County.
He said that there has been an increase in the incidents of prolonged dry spells, floods especially along river Sabwani basin, weather variability leading to planting and harvesting seasons shifting, and increased incidents of climate change related diseases and pests for human beings, livestock and crops.
Governor Natembeya further urged the forest service to allow residents to harvest their crops that are planted in Kimothon Forest.
He said that the residents have been planting crops in the forest for many years and that they rely on them for their livelihood.
“The residents have been planting crops in this forest for many years,” he said. “They rely on these crops to feed their families and to sell to generate income.”
Governor Natembeya said that the forest service has been preventing residents from harvesting their crops, which is causing them hardship.
“The forest service needs to be more compassionate,” he said. “They need to allow residents to harvest their crops so that they can feed their families and earn a living.”
The Governor also said that the forest service needs to work with residents to find sustainable ways to use the forest.
“The forest service needs to work with residents to develop a management plan for the forest,” he said. “This plan should allow residents to harvest their crops in a sustainable way and also protect the forest.”
The governor was joined by the education CS Ezekiel Machogu, Trans Nzoia County commissioner Gideon Oyagi,County Women rep Lillian Siyoi among other leaders from all spheres of life