By Lydia Ogada
The 2016 Long rains National tree planting launch was held on 4th May 2016 at Nyambogichi Primary School, Laikipia County. The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities Prof. Judi Wakhungu was the Chief Guest at the event. She was accompanied by the Governor of Laikipia County Joshua Irungu, Laikipia County Commissioner Apollo Okello, the Chairman KFS Board Peter Kimathi, and Director KFS Emilio Mugo. Also present at the event was the senior staff from the KFS and the County, pupils from Nyambogichi Primary School and members of the adjacent community.
Speaking during the launch the Chief Guest Prof. Wakhungu acknowledged Governor Irungu’s conservation efforts in promoting tree growing and conservation, working with communities and providing leadership on matters of forestry in Laikipia and the wider Mt. Kenya region and offered her and the Director KFS support to the realization of a greener and a more environmentally resilient Laikipia. “I have been briefed about your desire as a County Government to support the planting of 40 million trees and 2 million fruit trees in the next 4 years to be spearheaded by the Laikipia County Development Authority (LCDA). My observation, Ladies and gentlemen, is that this is a noble cause, it is a very huge task and it requires a lot of commitment not just by the Governor, but also by the entire County administration and the stakeholders here in Laikipia.
She also recognized the beneficial, complementary and strong relationship that the Ministry of Environment had cultivated with the County Governments to enhance forestry development in Kenya. Ministry through Kenya Forest Service, held regional meetings with all the counties to finalize the Transition Implementation Planning (TIPs) for devolved forestry functions. These plans, once completed would provide a clear roadmap for the implementation of devolved forestry functions by all the 47 counties. It is anticipated that this process will deepen the much-needed understanding at the two levels of government of each level’s obligations in the sector.
She encouraged all the County Governments not to dip themselves in the suspicions that the National Government is holding back support for the counties for the forestry sector and informed all counties that the sooner the plans are endorsed, the faster the MENRRD and Kenya Forest Service would be able to provide the capacity development and technical support to the counties in line with the Constitution and existing policy guidelines.
In his speech the governor Laikipia County Mr. Irungu expressed his delight at the function being held in his county. He said that his county had targeted 500 schools to provide with 250 seedlings each. He also said that his county had earmarked a total of 40 million seedlings to plant in Laikipia County within a span of 4 years in all areas and degraded sites. “We have also 2 million high value seedlings for planting this season and we shall engage community, groups and chiefs in planting”, he said
C.S, Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities, Prof. Judy Wakhungu, Laikipia County Governor, Joshua Irungu, PS, State department of Natural Resources, Dr. Margret Mwakima, KFS Director, Emilio Mugo and soldiers from the Kenya Navy water a tree planted by the soldiers during the launch of the 2016 Long Rains Tree Planting Season at Nyambogichi Primary School, Laikipia County.