Despite receiving enough rainfall across the year Busia County is among the counties in Kenya that have low forest and tree cover.
According to Busia county conservator Mr Vitalis Osodo Busia county is ranked third last county in Kenya in tree cover at 8.3 percent and 0.53 percent in forest cover respectively.
“Busia County in terms of tree cover and forest cover is still too low. We are ranked number three from behind. The county records tree covers at 8.3 percent and in forest cover we are 0.53 percent respectively an indication that we still have a long way to go as far as the forest cover is concerned,” said Mr. Osodo
Addressing people during the tree planting day celebrations held at Korinda GK prisons in Busia county Mr Osodo encouraged farmers and other stakeholders including the office of the county governor and county commissioner to allocate resources to tree planting to be able to plant at least 15 billion trees in ten years.
“People are planting trees in their farms and as a department, we are here to encourage and support them. Through the support of the county governor and county commissioner, I am sure by the time we finish the 10 years we will have planted at least 15 billion trees which translates to 27 percent tree cover and 10 percent of forest cover in Busia County.” He noted
He added, “In these short rains some of our partners have planted more than 300 hectares of trees at Sio Siteko wetland which will boost our capacity in terms of how much we have done in tree planting.”
According to Busia County Commissioner Mr Kipchumba Ruto, every location in Busia took part in planting trees where 50,000 trees were planted across Busia county.
He appealed to the county residents to conserve the environment to counter the effect of climate change, adding that the Sahara Desert is moving southward at a very high rate, and if the environment is not conserved it is just a matter of time for the desert to be here.
“We grow trees, we clean the environment, restore and reclaim the depleted environment. It is good to conserve the environment. You are aware of the effect of the environment change, the Sahara Desert is moving southward, the horn of Africa is moving towards Kenya and it has really affected us in the previous rainy seasons,” he noted
Mr Ruto noted that with the help of the county governor, they will form a committee that will be mandated to come up with tree nurseries across the county to enable citizens to access the trees whenever they want.
“We need to have a strategy with a view to get seedlings available in enough quantity so that we can plant trees whenever we want them,” said Mr Ruto.
Busia County Governor Dr Paul Otuoma urged residents of Busia to be conscious of the environment and take responsibility for ensuring that trees are grown in their respective homes.
“The tree planting in line with a presidential decree of planting 15 billion trees by 2032 emphasizes the need for every person in Kenya to be environmentally conscious to take responsibility in ensuring that we grow trees,” said Dr Otuoma.
The governor revealed that his government is planning to come up with mini-water towers which will entail planting trees in bare hills of Samia Hills, Bunyala, Teso South, and Teso North sub-counties.
“Most of the hilltops are bare and my government has an ambitious program of establishing mini water towers in the county as anchored in the CIDP 2023-2027. This program will target Samia hills, Bunyala, Teso South, and Teso North hills for mass planting and growing of trees which will require community support,”
Adding that “There is also a need to allocate resources for tree nursery establishment in every sub-county which will ensure that there are adequate seedlings for planting. I therefore direct that for environmental sustainability all county departments accord the environment its rightful place in their plans and programs.”