International Day of Forests celebration at Siaya County
KEFRI joined other Institutions in celebrating the 2019 International Day of Forests on 21st March, 2019
The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko
officiated the event by planting a commemorative tree to launch tree planting initiative for the Siaya County.
The event under the years' theme ‘Forests and Education’ was held at Bondo Teachers College, Siaya County, where the college has set aside 2.5 hectares to plant 5,000 trees.
The CS was accompanied by his Chief Administrative Secretary Mr. Mohammed Elmi, Siaya County Governor H.E. Cornel Rasanga, area MP Hon. Dr. Gideon Ochanda, Siaya County
Commissioner Mr. Michael ole Tialal and CEO from various organizations amongst other dignitaries.
“Siaya County faces environmental challenges that include deforestation, degraded hilltops, and exploitation of forest products. The County is low on forest cover, and I urge the communities
to halt the wanton destruction of indigenous trees for charcoal production. Without trees and forests lives will be unbearable,” said Governor Rasanga.
“Siaya is ranked as one of the counties with lowest tree cover - 0.42%. The County was therefore chosen to host the event in order to sensitize the community on the importance of
increasing trees and forest cover”, said Tobiko.
The area MP Hon. Ochanda said, “We are where we are by choice. The international day is therefore an opportunity to change our community’s attitude towards forest conservation”.
Governor Rasanga called upon the partners to support his County Government’s tree planting efforts so as to realize the national Governments’ initiative of attaining
the Constitutional 10% tree cover.
The County will plant 30,000 tree seedlings in schools and other public institutions during the rainy season, said the County Commissioner Mr. Michael ole Tialal.
However, CS Tobiko was categorical that each county is to “plant and grow" 5 million tree each year for the country to achieve the 10% tree cover by 2022.
“My ministry will facilitate gazzettement and reseeding of the 17 hilltops, in addition to supporting establishment of tree nurseries in each primary school so that Siaya become
a viable county to reach the threshold of 10% by 2022,” said Tobiko.
Tobiko commended Siaya County for signing the Transition Implementation Plans (TIP) for the devolved forestry functions. The Plans developed by Kenya Forest Service (KFS) is
to facilitate the transfer of functions related to management of community and private forests.
The Ministry of Environment and Forestry, its Agencies and Collaborators showcased various products and services related to forest and education. KEFRI showcased
technologies on bamboo utilization and for minimizing exploitation of forests.
Students from local institutions and communities interacted with scientists, policy makers, and foresters to learn the benefits of trees, forests and the need to manage them sustainably.
According to United Nations, 21 March is a day set aside to raise awareness on the importance of all types of forests. This year theme promotes forestry education at all levels
so that people can learn to love forests, it underscores the importance of education in achieving sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation.
Area MP. Hon. Gideon Ochanda, MoE&F CAS Mohammed Elmi visiting KEFRI stand at Bondo Teachers College during the celebration
to mark International Day of Forests 2019.