, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19- The Government on Wednesday launched the ambitious -Greening Kenya- campaign at the Ruiru GK prison, one of the areas set aside for seedlings planting before distribution across country.
The massive campaign was launched jointly by Cabinet Secretaries Prof. Margaret Kobia (Public Service), Fred Matiangi of Interior and Keriako Tobiko of the Environment Ministry.
The government says the campaign is an offshoot project conceptualized from the collaboration between the National Youth Service and the Kenya Prisons Service.
The ultimate objective is to develop 50 million tree seedlings for planting and contribute to the realization of the recommended 10 percent forest cover in the country.
“The recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the collaboration between the Kenya Prisons Service (KPS) and the National Youth Service (NYS) will also give new impetus to this initiative,” Matiangi said.
“Under its offshoot project, dubbed the Greening Kenya campaign, the agreement will round off the cause with joint projects in planting and nurturing different types of exotic and indigenous trees and fruits,” he added.
The campaign, CS Matiangi said is a clear indication of Kenya’s commitment to achieving sustainable forest management.
“The bandwagon is now rolling with more support coming from other government agencies and development partners,” he said.
By 2022, the Government hopes to improve Kenya’s forest cover by 8 per cent from the current 7 per cent.
The United Nations’ recommended forest cover standard is 10 percent, with the country falling short by 3 per cent due to increased human activities like illegal logging among other reasons.
On her part, Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs CS Prof. Margaret Kobia said the Government has so far sunk three boreholes, “at half the budgeted cost, found new market for Prison farmed vegetables in NYS and set foot on the greening campaign having established one of the largest tree seedlings nursery in the region.
In Ruiru, the Cabinet Secretaries unveiled 10 million of planned 100 million seedlings as part of the contribution to the Greening Kenya initiative.
“Many more are on the pipeline with mega launches planned before the current financial year,” she said.
CS Ministry of Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko said the targeted percentage is only possible if Kenyans embrace the initiative.
“My Ministry is in touch with local communities and stakeholders in the production of tree seedlings to ensure a culture of tree growing towards our set goal,” he said.
Kenya is one of the least forested countries in Africa with only 7% tree cover which equates to 67 trees per person, compared to the global average of 420.
The low forest cover has been occasioned by massive deforestation which dates back to the 20th Century.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed that all efforts for the achievement of this national forest cover be made so that the constitutional threshold can be achieved by 2022.