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November 21, 2018

Kiptabus farmer accuses KFS officer of destroying crops

A tree planting exercise on a depleted section of Kapchemutwa forest , Keiyo North on May 12, 2018. /STEPHEN RUTTO
A tree planting exercise on a depleted section of Kapchemutwa forest , Keiyo North on May 12, 2018. /STEPHEN RUTTO

The Kenya Forest Service is under pressure to arrest a warden reported to have destroyed vegetables worth Sh200,000 at a farm in Kiptabus, Elgeyo Marakwet.

Jonathan Komen on Thursday said KFS allocated him one acre in Kiptabus forest in January under the Plantation Establishment Livelihood Improvement Scheme [Pelis], also known as shamba system.

Under Pelis, farmers are allowed to cultivate sections of the forest while nurturing young trees.

Komen said he planted potatoes and harvested in May before planting 11,000 cabbages in the forest farm in June. “I sold my cow and paid Sh10,000 to get the forest farm. But I was shocked when a forest warden stormed the farm on July 23 and gave me one week to destroy the cabbages or face consequences,” Komen said.

The farmer said the warden came back two days later and destroyed 4,000 cabbages worth Sh200,000.

Komen claimed the warden demanded Sh20,000 from him and when he declined, he returned with a panga and destroyed the crop.

Elgeyo Marakwet KFS ecosystem conservator Anthony Musyoka said they are investigating and disciplinary action will taken if the warden is found culpable.

He said KFS wardens are not under any instructions to destroy crops even in encroached areas of the forest.

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