The CS Prof. Judi Wakhungu has advised Kenyans to plant drought tolerant trees as a solution to the myriad challenges facing the forest sector today. “Kenya’s forest cover is currently projected to be at 7.4 % from 6.99% in the year 2010. Though this is commendable improvement, we are still below the desired global minimum commendation of 10%”, she said.
In order to achieve the 10%, the CS said that the state has started the development of drought tolerant trees project for adaptation to climate change in dry lands of Kenya to provide results that can incrementally address the Kenyan concerns.
Speaking during her official launch of a workshop to the development of drought tolerant for adaptation to climate change in drylands in Kenya, at KEFRI headquarters, Muguga, the CS said that the project will target two drought tolerant tree species of Melia Volkensii and Acacia Tortilis. All the selected trees have already been conserved in clonal seed orchards and seedlings seed orchards in Tiva and Kibwezi.
Wakhungu said that Melia Volkensii has another additional of 8 progeny trials established in Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Kitui, Makueni and Taita taveta counties. They serve as demonstration plots for Melia growing and management and provide seeds to local communities in all the areas they are established
CS said that her ministry is in the process to lobby for additional funds from the treasury to ensure the success of the project and added that the goodwill of the Japanese Government through the Embassy of Japan and JICA will provide another additional financial support to achieve the indented objective of the progeny trials.
Wakhungu commented the project team for not losing sight of the fact that research is meant to spur development.
The launch of the Conference was also attended by Dr. Margaret Mwakima, the Principal Secretary State Department of Natural Resouces, the ambassador of Japan to Kenya, HE Ueswa and Director of KEFRI, Dr. Chikamai among others