Saturday, July 11, 2020
Vihiga residents living around Maragoli Forest in Vihiga Sub County have been urged to support government reforestation efforts aimed at reclaiming the once vibrant forest.
 The Director of Administration State Department for Planning Dr. Chege Muchiri made the appeal when he led a team of national government officers who joined members of public in tree planting exercise at the forest.
A total of 1, 000 indigenous tree seedlings were planted at the forest in the event that was also spearheaded by Vihiga County Commissioner Mr. Ochillo Oyugi and County Ecosystem Conservator Mr. Isaac Maiyo.
 Dr. Muchiri who represented Principal Secretary (PS) State Department for Public Works Major Retired General Gordon Kihalangwa noted that Maragoli Forest had untapped potential of being one of economic hubs for Vihiga County.
The official expressed regret over past human activities, including uprooting of freshly planted tree seedlings and unlicensed logging, which contributed to depletion of what he described as a one of the once vibrant forests in former western province.
 He however encouraged the community surrounding the forest to fully embrace the ongoing conservation activities being carried out by both the national and county governments.
 “Let us be first managers and protectors of ongoing reclamation activities on this forest,” Muchiri appealed to the locals.
“Besides being one of the major water towers in this region, Maragoli Forest has potential for boosting revenue generation for Vihiga County through eco-tourism and related economic activities,” Muchiri told the locals.
 He urged the area youth and women to invest in tree seedlings production in order to boost their sources of livelihood and living standards.
“Our skilled and unskilled youth should be enterprising enough by tapping into job creation opportunities such as tree seedlings production instead of waiting for white collar jobs that are becoming increasingly difficult to find,” remarked Muchiri.
Commissioner Oyugi warned of dire consequences to any individual that would be charged for frustrating government efforts in conserving public forests in the county.
He expressed delight over changing of attitude among the locals toward conservation activities at the Maragoli forest.
 “We are happy to note the growing positive attitude among families living around this forest unlike in the past,” noted Oyugi who observed that very minimal human distractive activities have been reported in the forest for the last few years.
The area conservator of Forests Mr. Isaac Maiyo.
 said  the exercise will also see  2000 tree seedlings planted at Kibiri Forest.



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