Climate change impacts has recently aggressively hit most parts of Kenya giving President William Ruto’s new government a hard time. Cases of drought has made headlines in most news outlets and this saw Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua appealing to Kenyans to contribute food for their starving fellow citizens.
To address this situation, President Ruto pledged to start a tree planting programme that will see Kenya covered with five billion trees.
“Water increment goes hand in hand with conserving the environment. As a government we purpose to plant five billion tress in a bid to combat climate change,” said President Ruto during the commissioning of Thimba Dam in Kirinyaga county on October 15, 2022.
On November 11, 2022 President William Ruto announced that Kazi Mtaani programme will be converted into tree-planting initiative.
“We have to initiate long-term resilience activities to cushion the people against drought and food insecurity. The situation is still dire especially in 20 counties due to crop failure as a result of failed rains,” he added.
The drought situation has proven to be problematic to the new administration with Kenyans losing their lives and that of their animals as days go by without proper solution being found.
In the recent CAP 2027 forum Hon Raila Odinga mentioned the need for afforestation as a way of coping with climate change in Kenya.
“Seasons are no longer predictable the way they used to be predictable. Climate change is a reality and people should not take this for granted, this is a threat to humanity! As Kenyans we need to rise up to the challenge and that’s why a fire station is a must, we need now to seriously start planting trees so that we can be able to develop the carbon sink in our country, that really is our only road to safety as a people and as a country,” he said.
The Challenges Ahead
Tree planting can be challenging especially when it comes to seedling survival, which depends on many factors. Is Ruto’s government aware of the need to ensure long-term survival of tree seedlings? Which mechanism is being put in place to ensure the trees grow to maturity?
Has the government come up with plans on monitoring the five billion tree-planting efforts? The need to collect data on ecosystem restoration actions that counties will partake is paramount.
The mistake that President Ruto’s government shouldn’t do is to assume that more tress would not necessarily mean less agriculture. Sustainable agriculture and forestry practices will need to be a big part this country’s restoration.
This article was written by : Salah Mohamed Ahmed