Saturday, November 18, 2017

First Lady Hon. Margaret Kenyatta signs visitors book at KFS Headquarters, Karura during the tree growing and Forest Conservation awards ceremony for 2017. From the back are CS Prof. Judi Wakhungu (right), PS Dr Margaret Mwakima (left) and KFS Chief Conservator Mr Emilio Mugo.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has called on the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to involve women and the youth in forestry development programmes saying their participation in the sector will spur investment in the forest sector.

Speaking at KFS Headquarters in Karura, Kiambu County during the Tree Growing and Forest Conservation Awards Ceremony, the First Lady said including women and the youth in such projects would also enable them to benefit from forestry development programmes.

She commended the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources for rolling out a programme that permits forest adjacent communities to generate income and food farm on forest land.

The First Lady lauded the initiative, adding that it has improved access of forest adjacent communities to basic amenities among them quality food, clean water and health facilities which makes their life bearable.

She challenged KFS to ensure that forestry programmes create meaningful impacts on food, security, incomes and human wellbeing at the house hold level.

The First Lady said the development of any nation could only be achieved if women, children and the youth have access to opportunities to develop their talents and capabilities.

Speaking at the same event, Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu said awarding Tree growers and Forest Conservation heroes drawn from 47 Counties across the country clearly demonstrates an appreciation of the great role individual tree growers, pastoralists, forest adjacent communities and community organizations alongside other state agencies play in enhancing the Country’s forest cover.

Prof. Wakhungu said adequate tree cover is critical for stabilizing climates for agriculture and livestock production, regulating water flows in catchment areas, absorbing carbon dioxide and mitigating against natural disasters such as floods, landslides and negative impacts of climate change.

She said the Ministry through KFS is deploying communities across the country in production of   high quality tree seedlings appropriate for conservation, hence contributing to the improvement of peoples livelihood and incomes in the rural and urban areas

The Cabinet Secretary further pointed out that her Ministry is committed to spearhead the rehabilitation of 5.1 million hectares of land which have been mapped out through a comprehensive process that has identified different parts of the country that are available for rehabilitation.

“These include Arid and Semi-arid lands which forms about 80 per cent of our country. Other areas that have been mapped out include roadsides, railway reserves, county parks, hilltops, among other areas,” Prof. Wakhungu said.

First Lady Hon Margaret Kenyatta presents an award to one of the winners at the tree growing and forest conservation awards ceremony at KFS Headquarters, Karura.
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