President Ruto directs recruitment of 2,700 Forest Rangers, 600 Forest Officers

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President William Ruto has directed the immediate recruitment of 2700 Forest Rangers and 600 Forest Officers to drive the Government’s agenda to increase Kenya’s forest cover to more than 30 percent by 2032.

The President said Kenya is concerned about climate change and its impact on the country as a whole and in particular the arid and semi-arid regions in particular.

“Without a doubt, climate change is complicating our roadmap towards socio-economic transformation and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals,” said the President.

He said Kenya was currently faced with a severe drought, the worst in 40 years, due to failed rains for three years.

“As we seek short-term measures to respond to the evolving situation, I have directed that a long-term and sustainable solution to the planetary challenges be put in place. The ultimate solution includes greening our country to more than 30 per cent of tree cover by 2032,” said the President.

He said data on Kenya’s forest cover was alarming since only 5.2 million square kilometers of Kenya’s 59.2 million square kilometers is under forest cover. “The remaining 54 million hectares are bare earth, exposed to erosion and biodiversity loss. Over 80 per cent of this lies in arid and semi-arid lands,” said the President.

He said the Government was in the final stages of designing a Special Presidential Forestry and Rangeland Restoration Acceleration Programme.

“The plan is to grow 5 billion trees in the next 5 years, and an additional 10 billion trees between 2027 and 2032. This will eventually lead to the rehabilitation and restoration of 10.6 million hectares through constituency nerve-centres in the 290 constituencies, as well as some specially selected ecosystem,” said the President.

The Head of State said that he will soon inaugurate a 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.

The council will start mobilising finance from public, private and multilateral sources, including climate finance, to fund the proposed activities. This is anchored on the United Nations goals and backed by the Tree Growing and Sustainable Forestry Finance Management Programme supported by UNDP, UNEP, FAO, UNCDF and New York’s Multi-Partner Trust Fund. The programme also responds to Kenya’s commitments to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions that is articulated in various multi-lateral environmental agreements, and the United Nations Decade of Action on Ecosystem Restoration. 

Kenya will rally the globe towards more ambitious climate action in next month’s 27th UN Climate Change Conference at Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt.

The Government will continue supporting efforts by the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) in high quality tree seed production, collection, processing, testing and distribution in the 18 Tree Seeds Centres in Gede in Kilifi, Kitui, Muguga in Kiambu, Garissa, Migori, Kakamega, Londiani in Kericho, Turbo in Uasin Gishu and Marigat in Baringo. Others are Rumuruti in Laikipia, Nyeri, Turkana, Kibwezi in Makueni, Meru, Wajir, Maseno in Kisumu, Lamu and Taita Taveta. 

“This will boost KEFRI’s storage capacity from the current 60 metric tonnes a year to 240 metric tonnes. In 10 years, this will inject Ksh100 billion into the economy as a result of the green jobs created from the seedling production,” said the President.

The Head of State said agroforestry and farming of avocados, mangoes and macadamia should 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 call to grow at least 15 billion trees in the next 10 years,” said the President.

He also challenged Governors to contribute towards efforts to increase the forest covers in the counties.

The President spoke at Uhuru Gardens when he led Kenyans in celebrating this year’s Mashujaa Day Celebrations.

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