- He says 10 per cent of county budget goes to environment but little is used to plant trees
- County government will work with Kenya Forest Service to increase tree cover
Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga has promised a Sh10 million tree planting project to improve forest cover in the county.
The money would be use on seedlings production and transplanting.
Rasanga regretted that little had been done to increase tree and forest cover that stand at 26 per cent and 0.042 per cent respectively.
“It’s so sad to hear that the environment and water department that gets 10 per cent of the total budget every year ends up allocating Sh4 to Sh5 million to the environment unit and little attention is given to tree planting,” he said.
Rasanga spoke on Tuesday when he received the chief economist of Kenya Forest Service Samuel Murithi and Nyanza KFS head Dedan Ndiritu who paid him a courtesy call in his office.
Murithi and Nderitu who were in the county to plant trees in Mbaga and Mbosie hills in Alego/Usonga and Ugunja subcounties said KFS will work with county government to enhance forest cover in the region.
The governor asked water and environment chief officer Dan Okoth to balance the budget and put more resources on the development of tree seedlings and facilitation of tree growth in Siaya.
“We have resources and we can support youth and women's groups doing tree seedling production to help us increase tree planting in schools, public places and huge tracts of lands lying idle in the society,” Rasanga said.
He said planting 10 million seedlings could increase tree cover from 26 to 30 per cent.
Rasanga told department for environment to liaise with stakeholders from the private sector to craft tree planting strategies that would reverse the poor forest cover.
“It’s so unfortunate that tree issues are only heard during commemoration of world environment days and no subsequent meeting is held in Siaya to discuss workable strategies to address the gaps.”
The governor regretted that after launching schools tree planting programme that targeted over 700 schools, only 100 schools have benefited from the programme.
“Only 52 schools in Bondo, 15 schools in Gem, 28 schools in Ugenya and five schools in Rarieda have planted trees,” he added.
He asked county commissioner Michael Ole Tialal to enforce the ban on logging.