President William Ruto now says Kazi Mtaani Programme will be converted into a tree-planting initiative.
Speaking at State House, Nairobi county on Friday, November 11, 2022, the Head of State affirmed that the move will help mitigate the adverse effects of climate change being witnessed in the country.
“We have to initiate long-term resilience activities to cushion the people against drought and food insecurity,” he stated.
The President had last month indicated plans to scrap the Kazi Mtaani programme that offered unemployed youth environmental jobs under the administration of former President Uhuru Kenyatta. He said the work in which the young people were recruited to plant trees and collect garbage would be undertaken by county governments.
5 billion trees
The latest development comes weeks after Ruto announced that Kenya intends to plant five billion trees in the next five years through Special Presidential Forestry and Rangeland Restoration Programme.
Speaking during Mashujaa Day celebrations on Thursday, October 20, President William Ruto said the programme will be spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, various experts and partners in government, UN organisations, NGOs, and academia.
“The objective is to grow 5 billion trees in the next 5 years, and an additional 10 billion trees by 2032. This will eventually lead to the rehabilitation and restoration of 10.6 million hectares in the 290 constituencies, as well as some specially selected ecosystem and water towers threatened by degradation and destruction,” he said.
Ruto said to achieve the plan, the government will support efforts by the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) to produce high-quality tree seeds in their 18 tree seeds centres countrywide.
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“Agro-forestry and farming of avocados, mangoes, and macadamia will also open new value chains for our export market, creating new green jobs in the sector. I, therefore, urge all Kenyans to support the government’s call to grow at least 15 billion trees in the next 10 years. To achieve this target, every Kenyan should grow 300 trees,” he stated.
Reforestation in the presidential programme would be undertaken by youth and women groups, civil society, community, and religious organisations, leveraging on the private sector and government financing.
“To ensure sustainable funding, Kenya is developing policies and strategies to tap into the global carbon market opportunities, accessible through carbon trading,” he added.
“Additionally, the Government will secure and protect public forests, rehabilitate and restore all degraded water towers and other forest ecosystems across the country,”
The government also stated that it intends to fence all fragile water towers and other ecosystems to protect them from encroachment.
At the same time, the government also revealed plans to recruit 2,700 forest rangers and 600 forest officers to augment interventions in the forestry sector.
“Shortly, I will also be inaugurating the Climate Change Council that will steer Kenya’s climate action through stakeholder engagements coordinated in the presidency, as required by the Climate Change Act, 2016,” Ruto said.
Meanwhile, Ruto on Friday highlighted that his administration had requested more funds to facilitate a response to the drought situation that has affected 20 counties.
“We must consolidate our solution to the situation. We are still requesting for more funds targeting more immediate response,” Ruto added.
He further stated that the Kenya Kwanza government would continue supporting farmers to produce more food.