Thursday, December 3, 2020
Governor Dr  Wilber Ottichilo laying foundation stone for the construction site of an Administration Block at Maragoli Hills Forest. The European Union has allocated  Sh 160million  toward conservation of the water tower

Governor Dr Wilber Ottichilo laying foundation stone for the construction site of an Administration Block at Maragoli Hills Forest. The European Union has allocated Sh 160million toward conservation of the water tower

The Maragoli Hills Forest in South Maragoli location of Vihiga County, has received a major boost of Kshs 160 Million from the European Union towards conservation of the water tower.

Speaking when he officially launched construction of an Administration Block at the forest, Vihiga County Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo said according to the agreement EU will disburse the  grant in July 2020.
 Dr Ottichilo said once completed the Administration Block, which is fully sponsored by the county administration, will serve as centre for coordinating various economic activities at the Maragoli Hills Forest.
“My administration has entered into a working partnership with the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) with the main objective of not only conserving this forest, but more importantly to convert it to an economic hub for the county,” remarked Ottichilo.
“The donor fund will be used to initiate various activities aimed at conserving the forest as well as enable surrounding community boost sources of livelihoods, thus improve living standards,” noted Ottichilo.
 “We will use part of the funds to establish a tourist attraction site in the forest which will help the county boost its revenue collection from both local and international tourists,” said  the Governor.
 He disclosed that his government and KFS had already drafted a development plan for proper management of the forest, and that they will embark on process of massive tree planting in the forest to check the perennial problem of soil erosion and landslides synonymous with area.
The governor  further noted the County department of water and environment has established a one acre tree nursery project for demonstration and production of variety of indigenous tree seedlings in the area to educate residents on seedlings production.
 “The one acre tree nursery project will be used to educate our people on how to produce tree seedlings,” stated Ottichilo.
 He encouraged the locals to exploit the opportunity and venture into what he termed as well paying tree seedlings production business.
 “The Kenya Forestry Service will be your target market for the tree seedlings enterprise,” Ottichilo encouraged the locals, especially the youth.
He added the afforestation process will also ensure constant supply of rain water within the county’s major rivers that rely on the Maragoli Hills Forest.
“Water levels in our major rivers have been going down due to adverse human activity in the forest,” observed Ottichilo who cited uprooting of planted tree seedlings as one of the main challenges affecting growth and development of the forest.
The county boss said the administration block will be used by KFS officers to man the forest against such adverse human activities.
Present at the groundbreaking ceremony included Deputy Governor Dr Patrick Saisi,  County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Water and Environment  Marita Agufana and her Chief Officer Dr  Richard Boyo.
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