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KEFRI jointly with communities’ adjacent Kaya forests in Kilifi County has begun a drive of planting 250,000 mangrove seedlings to increase the forest cover.
Speaking during the mangrove planting event at Mida Creek on 22nd October, 2020, KEFRI Deputy Director for Corporate Affairs Jackson Mulatya, said the agency has sourced 70,000 mangrove seedlings from the community to be planted at Mida Creek and Mikindani in Mombasa, in line with the national agenda to improve forest cover and address climate change in the coast region.
“The initiative is aimed at preserving the mangrove forest ecosystem and mitigating effects of climate change, Dr. Mulatya,” said Dr. Mulatya.
He encouraged the residents to support the initiative – of mangrove conservation, noting the forests will protect their environment and provide benefits to the current and future generations.
Dr. Mulatya was accompanied by Coast Regional Director Dr. Linus Wekesa, Dr. Robert Nyambati, Coast Regional Deputy Director Dr. Stanely Nadir, KEFRI Regional staff, Kilifi County, Kenya Forest Service, National Museum of Kenya and the community members.
Dr. Wekesa said the institute has been working with the community at Mida Creek to carry out conservation for the last six years, adding that mangrove conservation has offered women and youth the opportunity to do income-generating activities.
“The non-governmental organizations, Kenya Forest Services, Community forest associations and the community around the creeks who have made the program a success. We will work with all stakeholders to ensure our forest cover is improved,” Dr. Mulatya said.
“This has enabled us to reduce mangrove destruction from 40 to about 50 percent through community participation such as mangrove planting, eco-tourism among others,” he said.
He added that the mangrove forest cover has increased after the community came up with conservation projects which are funded to produce seedlings, which are planted to increase forest cover.
“Our aim is to reduce forest destruction by 100 percent because impacts climate change will be felt” he said adding “mangrove forest produce a good ground for marine breeding, bird watching and break strong ocean waves.”
Ms Arafa Salim Baya, the patron of Bidii na Kazi women group which is conserving mangroves at Mida creek thanked KEFRI for purchasing some of the 200,000 seedlings at their a nursery, an act that has boosted the morale of the women who were also struggling due to effects of COVID 19 pandemic,'' she said.
Ms Baya appealed to well-wishers to purchase the remaining seedlings, as they usually go to waste once they outgrow in the nursery. “Our conservation efforts has so far become a success since we have erected a restaurant which is owned and run by the women conserving at the heart of the creek,” she added.