, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 12 – The Interim Coordinating Secretariat of the Mau Complex plans to embark on phase IV of the Mau rehabilitation in January 2011.
The fourth phase which targets small scale legal land owners who were beneficiaries of the 2001 land excision is scheduled to recover 61,000 hectares of the Mau forest.
Chief Coordinator of the Secretariat Hassan Noor Hassan who described the stage as an ‘enormous challenge’ also said that profiling of the small scale land owners would begin before the end of this year.
“Phase IV will be all that land which was allocated in 2001 to farmers and it involves a lot of substantial land and therefore this will be adequately addressed by the beginning of the 2011. However the data collection and analysis for phase IV will start before December,” he said.
He explained that the profiling would help the Secretariat advice the government on the real position of the phase IV restoration plans.
Mr Noor added that Phase III was well on course and would also be completed by the end of the year after which the land compensation plans would be announced.
The payment plans which will target those with legal title deeds will require about Sh17 billion and will see 20,000 hectares of Maasai Mau restored.
“This is what we are now addressing where profiling has been concluded and survey works have been concluded. We are now analyzing data using the legal committee from the Attorney General’s chambers and they are going to give us advice on the question of compensation for people in that forest,” he said.
He added that over Sh7.2 billion would be required for the total restoration of the Mau complex and that so far only 23,000 hectares of Mau land had been recovered.
“We require nearly Sh8.06 billion and at least there are a number of organizations that have made pledges for the rehabilitation of this water tower. For example we have companies taking up 8,000 hectares of Mau land to re-plant and rehabilitate…of course with our supervision and that of the Kenya Forest Service,” he said.
Mr Noor added that only indigenous tree species would be re-planted to avoid the introduction of new species that could interfere with the delicate forest ecosystem.
He also asked those who would be targeted by the evictions not to despair as they would be compensated if their land was legally acquired, “The evictions and relocation are only a small component of the restoration efforts and we should look at the bigger picture.”
The secretariat head also welcomed the proposal by Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta allocating Sh30,000 for every school to buy and plant tree- seedlings.
“We should all have small ‘Maus’ in our backyards as part of conserving and preserving our environment,” he said.
Phase I of the Mau rehabilitation efforts targeted land which had been earmarked for settlement but had not been allocated to anyone. It was recovered last year and had about 4000 hectares.
Phase II was aimed at land that had been encroached on by squatters. It had 19,000 hectares and was also recovered last year.