In the current world where unemployment and poverty is the order of the day, innovation and creativity is the best way of survival. In a little known village of Angorom in Teso South Sub County, a group composed of men and women of different ages have come together in a bid to sustain their livelihoods. The group known as Amani with a membership of 18, has achieved far above their numbers in terms of seedlings production. Founded in the year 2022, the group has already produced more than 500,000 tree seedlings which they sell to different camps. Stephen Baraza, the Group Chairman says that they target to hit the one million mark in terms of seedlings production by the end of April. ‘Deforestation has been on a high rate in Kenya and people tend to forget the famous slogan of ‘cut one plant two.’ That’s why we have come up with this initiative of tree seedling production in order to suppress scarcity of trees in our region,’ said Baraza. The father of four adds that their venture into the noble activity would not only address climate change but was also a source of livelihood for the members. ‘I have four children, two are at primary level and the other two at secondary level. I generate their school fees from this project and they have never been sent home for fees as I ensure that immediately I earn from the nursery, I clear fees on time,’ added Baraza. The group’s treasurer, Topister Otwane, is in agreement with the chairman adding that economic gains from the venture could not be underscored. Otwane however points out that the activity has challenges in that seedlings could be destroyed by stray domestic and wild animals since they are operating on an open space. She urges the government through the Ministry of Agriculture to intervene and support them in establishing a barbed wire, to fence off the nursery and procure a generator to enable watering of the seedlings during the dry spell. The treasurer further pleads with the Department of Forest Services to capacity build them and advise them on different seedling varieties to plant. Busia Acting County Commissioner Kipchumba Ruto says that President William Ruto is interested in planting trees with a view to combating climate change. Kipchumba adds that exploitation of trees has negatively affected the environment leading to climate change and its effects. ‘We need to plant trees in order to save our ecosystem from disastrous effects,’ he says, adding that Busia County has a very low forest cover. He further says that locals should plant trees in their private farms, schools, and government institutions. ‘Let us start by planting trees in our own homes, especially fruit trees,’ he says, adding that the government targets to plant 15 billion trees by the year 2032. Busia County Forest Conservator Vitalis Osodo called for massive investment into tree planting noting that Busia has a meagre five per cent forest cover. He also called upon the residents to resort to using alternative means of energy rather than depending largely on firewood and charcoal. ‘We request our people to use alternative sources of energy like biogas or electricity for those who can afford to avoid the issue of deforestation when using wood fuel or burning charcoal,’ he added. The Forest Conservator further stated that the county has identified 15 acres at KALRO Alupe, five acres at Busia Agricultural Training Centre, five more acres at Korinda GK Prison for tree planting during this financial year. He called upon various organizations, youth groups and individuals to establish tree nurseries where seedlings could be bought to support the Presidential directive on tree planting. The Kenya Vision 2030 blueprint set a goal for the country to increase the areas under forest cover to 10 per cent by 2030 and sustainably manage natural forests for environmental protection and enhanced economic growth.
Source: Kenya News Agency