• President Ruto wants Kenya to plant 15 billion trees to increase tree cover to 30 percent by 2032
• Unlike exotic trees, indigenous trees host pollinators which increase agricultural output
President William Ruto yesterday launched an ambitious tree planting campaign for Kenya.
Planting five billion trees over the next five years and 15 billion over the next 10 years is intended to give Kenya 30 per cent tree cover by 2032. Every individual will be expected to plant 300 trees in this period.
But it is vital that Kenya plants mostly indigenous trees. Exotic foreign trees like jacaranda and eucalyptus are sterile and do not nurture local birds, insects and animals. Yet three-quarters of the crops we eat rely on local pollinators. Without pollinators, we may starve to death.
If Kenya plants too many exotic species, agricultural output will decline. If it plants mostly indigenous trees, output will increase.
Of course, farmers like fast-growing eucalyptus and grevillea because these species provide firewood and timber. But farmers should still be encouraged to plant at least half indigenous trees because they will host pollinators as well as provide traditional medicine and fruit.
However government should only plant indigenous trees in places where there is no commercial consideration, for instance on roadsides or in the compounds of schools and police stations, as this will enhance national biodiversity.
Quote of the day: "It is hardly possible to build anything if frustration, bitterness and a mood of helplessness prevail."
He was elected President of Poland on December 22, 1990