Bank supports conservation efforts in Kitui County

Mr. Dominic Mutisya planting a tree during the function. PHOTO/Boniface Mulu, The Scholar Media Africa.

The African Development Bank (ADB) has given Ksh202 million to Mumaki Critical Water Catchment Area, Kitui County.

County Deputy Environment Director, Mr. Dominic Mutisya, disclosed that the catchment, which covers the Mutonguni, Kakeani, Kauwi, Musengo, Nguutani, Katutu, Kivani and Mutanda locations was started in 2011.

The outfit started conserving the water catchment by working with the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI).

Mumbu was speaking during the 8th Kitui County Annual Tree Growing event held at the Syomuitu Primary School, recently.

He was representing the County Environment Director Benjamin Musili Mukulo who was expected to be the chief guest.

The event was organised by the Kitui County Environment, Tourism and Natural Resources department in partnership with KEFRI and Kenya Forest Service (KFS).

Other organizations present were Wildlife Clubs of Kenya, Anglican Development Services Eastern, Caritas Kitui, National Environment Management Authority, National Drought Management Authority, Kenya Water Towers Agency and Water Resources Authority.

Several school children had also attended.

About 2,000 trees were planted at the learning institution during the event.

Mumbu thanked their partners for their continued support to the county. The official said the county government has done a lot towards environmental conservation.

“We are about to achieve the 10 per cent forest cover in the county should we be assessed,” Mumbu said.

The forestry expert said that it is possible to reclaim destroyed forests through planting more trees.

He said that Kitui is among counties that have taken note of climate change and adaptation through the County Climate Change Funds.

The other counties which have started acting on climate change include Garissa, Wajir, Makueni and Isiolo.

On his part, Bernard Kimani Kigwa, an official from KEFRI Kitui Regional Research Centre, said the body deals with all dry-land areas in Kenya.

The dryland areas represent 80 per cent of the country’s total land area.

“The tree species that we plant in dry areas are different from the ones that we plant in the highlands,” Kigwa said.

He had represented KEFRI Kitui Regional Research Centre Director, Dr. Albert M. Luvanda at the function.

“We know that water shortage is the greatest problem in this region,” Kigwa said.

He asked the locals to stop destroying trees through charcoal burning.

He encouraged them to farm melia volkensii for their own benefits.

“Kitui County is a major melia seeds collection centre,” Kigwa said.

He also talked about wild fruit trees among them the baobab, tamarind and payos that are plenty in the region.

Kigwa said that KEFRI Kitui Regional Research Centre, whose headquarters are in Kitui Town, covers 13 counties. These include Kitui, Garissa, Lamu, Machakos, Kajiado, Embu, Makueni, Tana River and Taita Taveta.

The Kenya Forest Service Kitui County Ecosystem Conservator, Mrs. Joyce Nthuku, said that there are about 53 uses of the trees that grow in the area.

“The uses include source of firewood, timber, water, electricity, shade and perfumes.

“Some 80 per cent of electricity is hydro-generated.  Rivers come from forests. Without trees we will not have sufficient water,” the officer said.

“Many medicines are from the trees. Most of the perfumes we use are made from trees.”

The official asked residents to make sure that they plant more trees and take care of them.

Nthuku was accompanied by officials from her office including her deputy, Charles Kavithi.

The Kenya Water Towers Agency Eastern Regional Coordinator Miriam Mutuku, said that the agency deals more with conservation issues.

Wildlife Clubs of Kenya Kitui Regional Education Officer Moses Katumbi among others also spoke during the event.

You8 can also read: Tetra Pak roots for environmental conservation

ENVIRONMENT: KEFRI makes efforts to green Kenya

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