November 13 declared green holiday, but where are seedlings?
The government has declared a public holiday for tree growing.
It is projected that 100 million seedlings will be planted countrywide on the day as part of the government’s target of 15 billion trees in ten years.
“In Exercise of the powers conferred by section 3 of the Public Holidays Act, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Administration declares Monday, November 13, 2023, a public holiday in which the public shall be engaged in tree growing countrywide,” the gazette notice read.
According to the Ministry of Forestry and Environment, the 15 billion trees will help in the restoration of 5.1 million hectares of deforested and degraded landscapes through the African Landscape Restoration Initiative.
Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya said on Monday they are targeting 100 million seedlings in an exercise that will be led by President William Ruto in at Kiu area in Makueni County.
“The exercise will be supervised by Cabinet Secretaries in counties, each allocated two counties. The governors among other officials will supplement the President’s and Cabinet Secretaries supervisory role,” said Tuya.
But as the country prepares for the tree-planting blitz, there are questions about the availability of seedlings.
In September, the Chief Conservator of Forest Alex Lemarkoko said the country could be facing a shortage of seedlings.
“During the current rainfall season which commenced in September, Kenya Forest Service has made available a total of 18,000,403 seedlings for planting countrywide,” Lemarkoko said in a statement.
He added that, besides the tree seedlings available in KFS nurseries, there are seedlings in private nurseries and in those operated by other institutions.
“A total of 42,393,935 seedlings are available for planting in the current rainy season,” Lemarkoko added.
The data from KFS indicate that the country has 60,394,338 seedlings.
But during the address yesterday, Tuya indicated the country has 150 million seedlings ready for planting.
“I would wish to understand the circumstances under which the KFS statement was issued,” said Tuya.
Since the 15 billion trees campaign started, Tuya revealed the Jaza miti App has recorded 100 million planted.