Friday, February 21, 2020

CS Keriako Tobiko addressing the residents of Ngerenyi in Mwatate Sub County

Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko has pre-mature politics and petty politics are derailing implementation of the President’s Big Four Agenda.

The CS has called on leaders to instead use their energies to support government’s development agenda to ensure Kenyans posterity.

“I wish politicians could use the energies they spend on electioneering and pre mature politics to support government, they should use such energy to conserve the environment,” Said the CS.

CS Keriako Tobiko is joined by students of Kombolio Secondary school during the tree planting exercise

The CS emphasized on the need to restore the Mau forest which is vital water tower, saying it does not belong to any community and government efforts must be supported by all stakeholders.

The CS said environment knows no boundaries hence the need for concerted effort in its protection and restoration.

The CS said the environment is faced with many challenges from politics, greed, industrial pollution, and poor disposal of waste that ends up in our rivers, climate change among others.

The CS was speaking at the opening the Taita Taveta Sub Regional Centre in Ngerenyi, Mwatate Sub County,Taita Taveta County. The center was established in 2017 with the partnership between County Governments of Taita Taveta and Kwale, University of Helsinki, Kenya Forest Service and Community Based Organizations.

CS Keriako Tobiko(L) is joined by Kefri Chairman Sammy Latema and DCC Mwatate Damaris Kitavi during the opening of the Kefri Sub Regional Centre in Ngenyi.

The center will coordinate research development in Taita Taveta and Kwale Counties. This will be done through development of technologies for restoration, rehabilitation initiatives, promotion of on farm forestry, development of forest products, capacity building among other initiatives.

The meeting was also attended by the Principal Secretary in the Ministry Ms Betty Maina, Taita Taveta Deputy Governor Majala Mlagui, Mwatate Deputy County Commissioner Damaris Kimondo, Former Taita Taveta County Governor John Mruttu, and Retired Major General among other leaders.

 

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CS Keriako Tobiko together with DCC Mwatate Damaris Kimondo waters down a commemorative tree at the county commissioners office in Mwatate.

Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko has challenged the County Commissioners to operationalize tree growing to ensure the target of 5 million trees each year per County is achieved.

“The President’s directive which include establishment of Chiefs tree nurseries in every location countrywide should be operationalized to ensure there are enough seedlings to be planted countrywide”. The CS said.

Tobiko called on county commissioners to bring on board all government agencies and have a plan on how to achieve the 5 million tree seedlings as directed.

The CS decried the critical low tree cover in Taita Taveta County which stands at 3.6% and called for aggressive tree growing campaign to meet the minimum target which is 10% tree cover by 2022.

The CS challenged the County Commissioner to use schools to establish nurseries, plant and nurture trees to ensure their survival.

He called for map out of schools and learning institutions in the county to establish the size of land, population of students and whether the school is fenced, this he said will go a long way in ensuring the survival of tree seedlings planted.

The CS said students should be encouraged to plant and adopt a tree every rainy season to inculcate the culture of tree growing as well as increase the county’s tree cover to the recommended 10%.

The CS was speaking in Taita Taveta County Commissioners office in Mwatate where he paid courtesy call, he was received by Mwatate Sub County Deputy County Commissioner Damaris Kimondo.

The meeting was also attended by Taita Taveta CEC in charge of Environment Gertrude Shue, KEFRI Chairman Dr Sammy Letema and Director Joshua Cheboiywo, Director of Administration in the Ministry Henry Obino among other officials.

CS Tobiko distributes tree seedlings to residents of Bura at Mchungunyi forest.

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CS Tobiko (left) having a word with World Marathon Record holder Eliud Kipchoge and Sports CS Amb Amina Mohamed during 2019 Mashujaa celebration in Mombasa

Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko has called on sports personalities to support the government in environmental conservation, saying environment and forest resources are enablers to better performance in sports.

Speaking when he met with with renowned, World Marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, CS Tobiko urged sports personalities like Kipchoge to promote environmental conservation, which in return will provide them with a conducive training environment.

“Kipchoge is among other world renowned athletes in the country train at the Kaptagat Forest and its conservation and restoration will ensure there is quality air, in the environment for training and performance” said Tobiko.

During the discussions, the athlete who became the first man to ever run a 42 kilometers marathon in less than two hours revealed that through the Eliud Kipchoge Foundation, he intended to adopt and restore part of Kaptagat Forest, in Nandi County.

The athlete together with his Coach Mr. Sang who were flown to Mombasa for the Mashujaa Day celebrations by Kenya Forest Service caravan was awarded Elder of the Golden Heart (EGH) medal by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

EGH is awarded to a people in recognition of their outstanding or distinguish services rendered to the nation in various capacities.

Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko with World Marathon Record holder Eliud Kipchoge during 2019 Mashujaa celebration in Mombasa

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Environment and Forestry Principal Secretary Ms Betty Maina waters a tree she planted at Mt Blankett hill in Londiani she is flanked by Kericho County Commissioner Moses Mbaruku and Community Forest Associations members

Environment and Forestry Principal Secretary Ms Betty Maina has called for the revival of county environmental committees to ensure tree growing is advocated for at County levels.

“Increasing the country’s tree cover requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders and counties play an integral role in realization of this dream” She said.

She challenged farmers to diversify from maize farming and venture into commercial tree grow trees which she termed as a lucrative investment. “KEFRI have exotic, indigenous, Bamboo and fruit trees to choose from and they will guide you on the right species to plant”. She advised.

The PS was speaking in Blackett Forest in Londiani, Kericho County where 10,000 trees seedlings were planted.

On his part Kericho County Commissioner Moses Mbaruku promised to deliver on production of half a million tree seedlings before May next year. “We will make use of the Chiefs, Assistant Chief, Village Elders, Nyumba Kumi to establish nurseries so as to ensure we deliver on the President’s directive of five million trees per County per year”. He said.

The County Commissioner said section 10G of the Constitution stipulates the role of chiefs in forest conservation saying Kericho County will have half a million seedlings in readiness for planting in May 2020.

Pupils of Tulwap Primary School plant a tree at Mt Blankett hill in Londiani during the National Tree Planting Campaign for short rains

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Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya (centre) addresses the press in Narok town. He was accompanied by the Chief Consrvator of Forests Julius Kamau on RC right and the Rift Valley Police Regional Commander.

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Mr. George Natembeya has banned grazing in Maasai Mau forest with immediate effect as the 60-day eviction notice comes to a close in the next few days.

Speaking to the press in Narok town after chairing a multi-sectoral meeting on Mau forest today, Natembeya also banned any movement and human activities in Maasai Mau forest terming it an operation area.

Mr. Natembeya said a major re-forestation exercise in Maasai Mau forest will start on November 1, this year where the  Environment and Forestry  Cabinet Secretary  Mr. Keriako Tobiko will launch the exercise and continue throughout the rainy season.

He said it’s for this reason that grazing and other human activities had to be halted to protect  the trees from being damaged.

“We are planning to plant 100,000 tree seedling in Maasai Mau on the day of the launch and over 13million seedlings in the entire Mau with Maasai Mau taking three million seedlings and  we will not allow any animals to enter the forest and destroy trees that has already been planted,” he said.

Natembeya said he was happy that so far over 70 per cent of households have moved out of the Maasai Mau completely with part  of the remaining 30 per cent having moved partially following an eviction notice that was given in August.

He urged others who are still in the area to follow suit and move out before the 60 days’ notice expires at the end of this month and ruled out the issue of compensation for the evictees.

The Regional Commissioner said some of the evictees had planted crops and were waiting for them to mature but he assured them that they will be allowed back only to harvest their crops when mature.

“Our main concern is the restoration of the Mau and this issue is not negotiable and I call upon all of us to work together in restoring the Maasai Mau,” he said.

The regional commissioner warned those planning to resist the eviction that they will not succeed and will be met with the full force of the law.

“We hear there are people arming themselves in some parts of the forest such as Kipkoben and Kipchoge, let them know we are ready for them,” Natembeya said.

The second phase of the water towers restoration is estimated to affect over 3,360 households including an alleged 8,000 school going children .

The department of education in Narok has confirmed that there are no candidates in Mau since none of the 15 schools earmarked for closure is registered..

During the first phase of the eviction in July last year, about 7,700 people were evicted from the forest land which saw over 12,000 acres of the forest reclaimed. It was centered in Reiya group ranch while the second phase has Nkoben, Ilmotiok and Ololunga on the radar. The others are Enokishomi, Enoosokon, Nkaroni and Sisian.

The Mau is the largest water tower in the country supporting millions of human life and wildlife in Kenya and beyond

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The CAS M.Elmi stresses a point as Veska Kangogo the Nairobi County EExecutive Committee member for Env. looks on.

Prospects for the country to migrate from linear to circular model of waste management are in top gear following the collaboration between the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Head of Public Service and the Nairobi City County Government.

A meeting chaired by the Environment and Forestry Chief Administrative Secretary Hon. Mohammed Elmi and attended by the Deputy Head of Public Service Mr. Wanyama Musiambo was told that the sustainable waste management policy and Bill were already finalized and were awaiting cabinet consideration and enactment by parliament.

Further the Nairobi City County Government also confirmed that plans were at an advanced stage to migrate to the circular model of waste management where emphasis will be placed at sorting waste at source and appropriate processing of the waste fractions to extract maximum value.

The meeting appealed to the head of public service to help fast track finalization and enactment of Sustainable Waste Management Policy and Bill.

Env & Forestry CAS Mohamed Elmi (Middle), Deputy Head of Public Service Wanyama Musiambo pose for a group photo after the meeting

The Ministry and Nairobi City county agreed to establish a working group comprising of multi-agency key stakeholders with clear terms of reference to drive development, implementation and coordination of a waste management action plan for Nairobi.

The meeting was also attended by Nairobi County Executive Committee Member for Environment m/s Veska Kangogo, and representatives of the Kenya Private sector Alliance (KEPSA) and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).

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A section of Karatina Vocational Training Center students holding up trees during the launch of a tree planting campaign for this short rainfall season where the government targets to plant 30, 000 trees.

The opportunity to raise the country’s tree cover from the current 7.2 to 10 percent by the year 2022 in line with government projections lies in private lands and public institutions, the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has said.

KFS Chief Conservator, Julius Kamau, said the forested area in the country constituted 4 percent of the entire land surface in the country and added this is not adequate to achieve the required percentage.

“Raising the remaining percentage to meet the 10 percent threshold means we have to shift our focus to other areas such as private lands and public institutions such as schools and colleges,”  Kamau said.

He called for partnerships between all the players in environmental conservation including the county governments as well as other non-state actors.

“KFS cannot deliver on this mandate alone. Partnership is the only way of achieving the 10 percent tree cover in the country,” Kamau said.

He was speaking at Karatina Vocational Training Center  while launching a tree planting campaign dubbed “Adopt a Tree Program” in Nyeri during the ongoing short rainfall season.

The campaign which is an initiative by a conservation group called ‘Hearts of Green Organization’ targets to plant 30, 000 tree seedlings in some 23 schools in the county in the coming two weeks.

Nyeri is one of the leading counties with the highest tree cover in the country at 38 percent.

Kamau at the same time urged all Kenyans to take up the responsibility of planting and nurturing trees which he said called for change of attitude and behavior on matters conservation.

“It is the responsibility of all Kenyans to contribute to this wonderful goal of increasing our tree cover by planting and nurturing trees to maturity,” said Kamau.

Hearts of Green Organization Chair, Moses Muya, said the ‘Adopt a Tree Program’ aims at cultivating tree planting and nurturing culture among children.

Muya said the program that has been running in the counties of Kiambu, Nakuru, Laikipia and Nyeri will soon be extended to other counties.

He said they are also in the process of launching model nurseries in all the eight Sub-counties in Nyeri in collaboration with KFS, Water Towers Agency and the area County government.

Muya at the same time announced plans to hold a tree planting marathon in all the schools within the county in June next year where they target to plant one million trees in school compounds.

County Water, Environment and Natural Resources CEC, Fredrick Kinyua, said the government was working on plans of raising the tree cover to 42 percent in a span of four years.

He said some of the plans put in place to achieve this was establishment of a partnership with Upper Tana Nairobi Water Fund that will see one million trees planted in the next three years.

Kinyua also reported that the government had established a tree nursery with over 100,000 seedlings that mostly concentrated on promoting fruit trees planting including avocado and macadamia which will also act as a source of income for local residents.

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Members of public visiting various exhibition stalls during a one day Agricultural education event held at Wamunyu in Mwala sub county

Kenya is very vulnerable to climate change with current projections suggesting that its temperature will rise up by 2.5ºC in the near future while rainfall will become more intense and less predictable. Even the slightest increase in frequency of droughts will present major challenges for food security and water availability, especially in Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs).

In order to mitigate againsts the adverse effects of climate change, the Machakos County Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, held an exhibition at Wamunyu Ward in Mwala Sub-County to forewarn residents of the inevitable challenges. The fair, that was sponsored by among others, Kenya Cereal Enhancement programme-Climate Resilient Agricultural Livelihood, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Adaption for smallholders’ Agricultural programme (ASAP).

The aim of the event was to educate small-scale famers on high end farming practices to help them confront the adverse effects of rapidly changing weather patterns. Various organizations and agrochemical companies were present to educate famers on best farming practices ahead of the current short rains.  Among companies present included Agriseedco Limited, Pioneer seed maize, Kenya Agro, Dryland seeds, Continental seeds, Kenya Biologies, Utooni Development org and Famers Agri-business Solutions.

A  sales representative with Dry Land Seeds, Mr. Simon Kiio, said farmers need to be educated on the right seeds to plant depending on the rainfall patterns of a particular region. He said unless this knowledge is inculcated to the locals, the country will be ill prepared to confront the ghosts of climate change. “We need to educate famers on best farming practices and the kind of seeds depending on the ecological characteristics of an area. We are educating our farmers on what seed variety can do well in areas that receive minimal amount of rainfall like in the Ukambani region which has a poor rainfall distribution pattern. This way, farmers can be assured of better yields regardless of changing climate patterns,” he said.

Pioneer Seeds Company used the occasion to launch its new P2859W maize seed variety takes three months to attain full maturity.  According to Mercy Mutheu who is the company’s sales officer, the fast maturing seed is ideal for Machakos due to its frequent dry spells.  Furthermore, she pointed out, the farmer is assured of a bumper harvest compared to traditional seed varieties.  “This maize variety takes less time to mature, has a high yield and do well under our region’s climate thus suiting our famers. It’s the most preferable maize seed to our famers. The maize stalk remains green throughout and the crop is usually ready after three months,” said Mutheu.

In April this year, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Country leader in charge of Inclusive Value Chains Mr. Tito Arunga while attending a similar trade fair in Machakos town called on both the national and county governments to encourage farmers to embrace smart farming in order to cushion the country against the threat of climate change. He said Kenya still remains a food insecure county and as such every effort should be made to mitigate against undesirable effects emanating from climate change.“As the world is confronted with the reality of climate change, our farmers should be encouraged to embrace smart agriculture. Farmers should make sure that they utilize the little rain we receive by undertaking agricultural husbandry practices,” urged the official.

And for those who attended the event, the gains were more than they expected.

For instance Phoebe Nthenya, a small scale farmer from Wamunyu hailed the initiative terming it a windfall at the right time.   She told the press she had gained much insight during the forum and was ready to go in implementing the same in her farm. “I thank the organizers of this event for educating local famers of this region. We have acquired a lot that will help us increase production in our farms,” she said at the close of the event.

While making his closing remarks, Machakos county Agricultural Livestock and Fisheries Chief officer Mr. Luka Kioko termed the exercise an overall success.  He further announced that the event will henceforth be held once a year and urged farmers to take advantage of the farm inputs at the exhibition to help boost food production. “As a government we are grateful for the efforts that were undertaken in organizing this event. Going forward we wish to announce the exhibition will be from now on be running once in a year to help boost our efforts in attaining food security,” he assured participants.

 

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Css from right- Environment Cs Keriako Tobiko,Cs foreign affairs Amb. Dr. Monica Juma, defence Cs Rachel Omamo, and sports Cs amb. Amina Mohamed water a tree they planted during the launch of national tree planting campaign for the short rains, at Mituini, Ngond road forest-Nairobi County.

Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko has assured the public that the Maasai Mau Forest will be restored.

“We are planning to do massive re-afforestation in the Maasai Mau Forest where 10 million seedlings will be planted to ensure the forest is restored to its original state” The CS said.

The CS revealed that since issuance of the 60 days notice for illegal settlers to move out of the forest, about 80% of the reclamation process will have been completed and by the end of the process the forest will be restored to its pristine state.

The CS was speaking in Ngong Road Forest during the launch of the National Tree Planting Campaign for the short rains.

It is expected that when the illegal occupants vacate the forest, 17,000 hectares of forest land will be repossessed which is an equivalent to 37% of the Maasai Mau Forest. This will provide room for restoration of the approximately 17,000Ha in Maasai Mau Forest and contribute to recovery of 73% of the Mau forest cover.

The reclamation of the water tower will not only discourage further encroachment and illegal acquisition of land in the forest and other water towers in the country but contribute to ecosystem resilience and promote livelihoods, tourism, and agriculture among others.

Css from right- Environment Cs Keriako Tobiko,Cs foreign affairs Amb. Dr. Monica Juma, defence Cs Rachel Omamo, and sports Cs amb. Amina Mohamed water a tree they planted during the launch of national tree planting campaign for the short rains, at Mituini, Ngond road forest-Nairobi County.

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The PS, Betty Maina, flanked by the Diretor, Environmental Awareness, Dr. Ayub Macharia, the DA, Mr. Henry Obino and Mr. Isaiah Maina, during the event.

The Principal Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Betty Maina, has lauded National Environment Management Authority (Nema) for licensing E-waste recyclers; WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Centre) and three other recyclers, noting that, Electronic waste recycling was a new venture and a business opportunity, and hence encouraged more stakeholders to venture into.

Speaking today, when she presided over the E-waste Collection Challenge Event at the NHIF Building car park, the PS noted that, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry had come up with the “E-waste collection Challenge” to divert waste that could have ended up at home and dumpsites. “I have written to our sister Ministries, Departments and other Government Agencies, to gather E-waste within their premises and give it to the recyclers for proper disposal.” Said the PS. This will reduce pollution to our environment remarkably, she said.

At the same time, the PS observed that, the Ministry had also formulated a E-waste regulation that will be signed into law soon to ensure producers of electric and electronic equipment (EEE) take responsibility of end of life of their equipment and ensure its safe disposal.

The PS, presenting e-waste from her office for safe disposal.

We have developed an E-waste strategy as our roadmap in waste management. We are also developing the Extended Producer Responsibility to strengthen the polluter pay principle, the PS noted.

The PS thanked Safaricom Company and the Communication Authority, which have allowed their shops to be dropping points for e-waste. Kindly drop your e-waste there, the PS remarked.

The event was a run-up activity for the International E-Waste Day, which will be held on Monday 14th October at WEEE Centre, Utawala, and Nairobi.

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The CS, Mr. Keriako Tobiko in a group photo with the staff of KFS, after touring their stand at the Nbi International Trade Fair.

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry, Mr.  Keriako Tobiko, has called on Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), to enhance research to ensure quality seed and seedling production in a bid to help the government achieve the 10% required forest cover.

Mr. Tobiko made the remarks when he toured the Kenya Forestry Research Institute stand at the ongoing Nairobi International Trade Fair 2019 at Jamhuri Park grounds, Nairobi.

The KEFRI stand was ranked the best in demonstrating seed production and marketing, as well as in interpreting the current show theme (Overall), and – research/education category.

The CS said that, value addition to forest products and support community in seedling production through forestry innovations and transformative technologies, will go a long way, in supporting agriculture and trade.

The CS, who later toured the Kenya Forest Service stand and the Kenya Water Towers Agency stand, commended the KFS for winning awards at the event, saying that, the awards should translate to better service delivery to Kenyans.

KFS was awarded the 1st best Community Based Organization Project Stand, second best government stand, 1st best energy services and conservation stand, and 3rd best Organization Association in Community Projects service stand.

The theme for this year’s Nairobi International Trade Fair is ’’Promoting Innovation and Technology in Agriculture and Trade’’. Over 500 local and international exhibitors are showcasing products and services at the event.

The seven day exhibition is the largest Trade Fair the East African Region.

The CS, Mr. Keriako Tobiko, with the KEFRI staff after touring their stand.

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