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State to plant 30 million tree seedlings in North Rift conservancies

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The government will plant thirty million seedlings in the North Rift conservancy during this planting season, Treasury  Cabinet  Secretary, Henry Rotich has said.

In a speech read on his behalf by Water  Principal Secretary, Prof. Fred  Segor, the CS expressed concern that forests in the area were diminishing due to pressure from agricultural activities, despite their critical role in soil and water conservation.

Rotich called on Kenyans to support the government’s initiative, saying planting of trees was not a preserve of the government alone but a shared responsibility by all Kenyans in a bid to reverse effects of climate change.

Environment  CS, Prof. Judi  Wakhungu said the country could attain the 10 per cent forest cover if all Kenyans took it upon themselves to plant trees.

In a speech read on her behalf by PS in the Ministry, Dr. Margaret Mwakima, the CS said this would see the country realise a turnaround of the current climatic conditions which has seen a drastic reduction of water both for domestic and industrial use.

Prof. Wakhungu said the Ministry had started the green schools planting programme in eight schools in Elgeyo Marakwet County so as to inculcate culture of conservation among children.

The duo was speaking at Chepkosom primary school in Uasin Gishu County on Tuesday, after the planting of 7, 000 seedlings at the Kaptagat forest in Elgeyo Marakwet County, which the marked launching of the national tree planting exercise.

Segor said phase one of the multi-billion Sabor water project with its source in Kaptagat forest was complete. The project will provide water to 64,000 residents in Iten and Tambach towns.

“We are now moving to phase two which involves the construction of a sewerage system in Iten town”, the PS said.

Uasin Gishu deputy governor, Daniel Chemno said 700, 000 residents of the county relied on water from Kaptagat forest, hence the need to conserve the catchment area.

Area leaders called on the national government to channel 30% of cess from the forests back to the local Community Forest Associations to be used in conservation efforts.

The leaders, who included Uasin Gishu governor, Alex Tolgos and governor aspirant, Zedekiah Bundotich, said major multi-national companies were paying millions of shillings to the government to harvest trees, but the local communities was getting nothing.

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