Members of the Nzoia Community Forest Association (CFA) in collaboration with the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in Likuyani Sub County have launched a tree planting program aimed at planting 40,000 seedlings in Nzoia forest during this short rain season.
Speaking when he launched the planting exercise, Nzoia forest station manager Christopher Kibowen thanked the community for philanthropically donating the seedlings and even availing themselves to plant them.
“Nzoia forest has quite a large chunk area to be planted and the community has come up in large numbers to partner with us to ensure that we cover all open areas in this forest and we expect to plant 40,000 seedlings on 5 hectares open grassland during this short rain season. I really want to extent my sincere gratitude to the community for giving us the seedlings which we are planting right now,” said Kibowen.
He said they could not plant the seedlings on areas meant for Plantation Establishment Livelihood Improvement (PELIS) popularly known us shamba system because harvesting has not been done revealing that there was close to 500 hectares of land under PELIS which expect will be put under trees by the end of next year.
At the same time Kibowen urged the community to replicate what they were doing in the forest on their own farms so as to reduce pressure in the forest and farmers to be able to sustain themselves in terms of timber product.
He said the move will also help in taming threats of climatic change. “On the issue of climatic change I think none of us has not seen what is going on at least everybody is complaining and if we don’t embrace the tradition of tree planting then we are going to face dire consequences,” he said.
Kibowen who hardly four month old at the station after being posted there late July this year, promised to work closely with the community to conserve the forest and bring positive environmental change in Likuyani sub county as whole.
The Nzoia Community Forest Association chairman Wilfred Mulindi appealed to the Kenya Forest Service fast track implementation of Participatory Forest Management Plan (PFMP) so that they can sit together and programme their activities.
“We are doing things late because the plan is at the station but the program is not there so we need to programme our activities together so that everybody can know what he/she is supposed to do,” said Mulindi.
The chairman revealed that the forest has five compartments and the donated seedlings were being planted in compartment five thanking close to 300 members of the compartment for turning up for the exercise.