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Friday, 29 April 2016

Laikipia Governor launches tree planting exercise in Sipili

By Bob Aston
April 28, 2016 marked a new beginning for environmental conservation in Sipili area of Ol-Moran Ward, as Laikipia County Governor H.E Joshua Irungu led the area residents in launching tree planting exercise at Sipili Health Centre.
The launch is part of the tree-planting week in Laikipia County, which kicked off on April 25, 2016. The culmination of the exercise will be the launch of the national tree-planting day on May 4, 2016 at Nyambogichi Primary School in Ngobit Ward by Prof Judy Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Regional Development Authorities.
Laikipia County Governor H.E Joshua Irungu planting a tree at Sipili Hospital

In attendance besides the governor, community members, county, and national government officials, included Mr. Duncan Mwariri, County Executive Committee Member for Treasury, and Economic Planning, and Mr. Joel Wamichwe, County Executive Committee Member for Water, Environment and Natural Resource Management.

Speaking during the launch, Governor Irungu said that the County government targets to plant 40 million trees during a 4-year period. He said that he would personally lead the exercise, which will see 10 million trees planted before end of the year.

“I will personally take lead in ensuring that we increase our forest cover to 10 percent. I will be out of the office until 15th May to ensure that we reach out target and that people understand the importance of environmental conservation,” said Governor Irungu.
He urged farmers to ensure that for every 5 acre land at least a quarter of the land has trees. He noted that climate change is having a negative effect in the County and increasing the tree cover would help in mitigation measures.
He said that forest cover is currently 6.9 percent of the County and he intends to ensure the attainment of 10 percent forest cover as required in the Kenyan Constitution and economic blueprint vision 2030.
He said that the County government would purchase tree seedlings from local tree nursery owners. He urged tree nursery owners and farmers to register their names with the ward administrator so that they can know the tree varieties and quantity available in the ward and the number of trees required by farmers.
He urged farmers to invest in agroforestry by planting high value fruit trees like avocado, mangoes, and macadamia as the County government has been subsidizing the cost of the fruit trees.
Community members planting tree at Sipili Hospital,Laikipia West,Kenya
“Returns from trees like macadamia can ensure that farmers increase their income. One should not fear the duration that it takes for the trees to grow as they will realize that it is a lucrative enterprise once they start to harvest fruits,” said Governor Irungu.
Earlier on, the Governor had led the residents in a tree planting exercise. He planted Markhamia Lutea “Muu.” The tree is renowned for its medicinal value as it helps in treatment of skin infections, sores, and itch. The tree is also important in controlling soil erosion, providing mulch, acting as a windbreaker, and it important in timber production, as it is resistant to termites.
The residents then planted 730 tree seedlings. Some of the varieties planted included acacia sayal, olea Africana, mukinduri, and eucalyptus. The tree planting exercise will continue across the 15 wards of Laikipia County in order to reach the 10 million trees target. Launching of the exercise started at Solio, Umande, and then Rumuruti.
The Laikipia County Development Authority (LCDA) is implementing the tree-planting project in collaboration with the Kenya Forest Services (KFS), and Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) among other partners.

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