NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 28 – Kenya is on the right track towards achieving 10 percent of forest cover from the current 7 percent, according to Kenya Forests Service (KFS) Director Emilio Mugo.
Mugo said this is the basic requirement for a country, but land owners must participate in order for the increase to be achieved.
“Forests have a big role to play in our environment especially the diversity for animals, and people have to take care of them “he said.
Mugo spoke as the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) signed a bilateral agreement, ”support to sustainable private Forest Development in Kenya” project.
Approximately Sh114 million has been set aside for the project which will start with the pilot areas of Nyandarua and Kericho between 2015 and 2018 then spread all over Kenya.
The project seeks to support sustainable private forest development in Kenya through establishment of private small and medium scale forest owner’s associates.
They move is to enhance the development of private forests and their sustainable management for the benefit of Kenyans.
Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu said that this bilateral cooperation will further expand and strengthen the existing cordial relations between Kenya and Germany.
“This is a landmark ceremony that will strengthen the ties between our two countries as we foster sustainable development and management of our natural resources” She said.
Wakhungu estimated the current extent of private forests to 160,000 Ha spread across the country in small, medium and large holdings but said the full potential can be greatly enhanced through technology acquisition and development transfer and dissemination to farmers and private forest owners.
“This cooperation has targeted the improvement of one of the most significant segment of forestry development, its potential in helping Kenya to produce wood for use by households and for industrial development is enormous,” she said.
She said they would be gazetting rules for the registration of private forests as part of the ministry’s efforts in looking for ways and means of providing targeted support for the development of private forests.
“Once registered, the owners of such forests will stand to enjoy a multiplicity of benefits including opportunities for accessing financing, technical assistance as well as a possible tax rebates on land rates” she said.
Wakhungu is confident that the resources which will be made available under this cooperation will make a positive difference in the way private forests are currently being managed in the pilot areas Nyandarua and Kericho counties and that the good results will permeate to the rest of the country.