Shamba system bad for Kenya – Ole Sapit hits out at Gachagua
The Anglican Church of Kenya has criticized Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua's calls for the revival of the shamba farming system in the country.
Speaking in Embu County on Sunday, October 9, Archibishop Jackson Ole Sapit said the church disagrees with the proposal to have members of the public allowed to cultivate in the forests.
Sapit warned that such actions would threaten the forest cover in the country and lead to more climatic problems.
He said deforestation is to blame for the current drought situation that has left millions on the verge of starvation in the country.
"We get worried when we hear proposals to reintroduce the shamba system because it has the potential of depleting our forests, especially in indigenous forests," Sapit said at a function to dedicate an Anglican Church commercial building in Embu town.
The archbishop disclosed that the Anglican church is at the forefront in regard to planting trees under the church's Green African Movement, saying plans are ongoing to plant trees on over 30 acres of land in Salama.
He urged the government to be cautious about the shamba system proposals saying it can only work on commercial forests.
The man of the clothe encouraged Kenyans to plant more trees in their areas saying it will have a positive impact.
He also encouraged Kenyans to support families affected by the ongoing drought situation in the country.
Sapit urged the government to consider working on long-term solutions to ensure the country has enough food.
The archbishop said the revival of the Galana Kulalu project would help solve the food crisis in the country.
"I don't know what happened to Galana Kulalu project it would have provided the much-needed food for people and fodder for livestock. We want to remind the current government not to let those resources put in this irrigation project not go down the drain. Let us revive this project to address the challenge of food in the country," Sapit avered.
Shamba system debate
Gachagua said last month that farmers living around forests could revert to the shamba system as a source of livelihood to boost food production.
Speaking at the funeral service of Baringo Deputy Governor Charles Kipng’ok in Eldama Ravine, Baringo County, Gachagua said the orders will be implemented once a new cabinet is named.
“Forests belong to citizens, you are the ones who take care of them all these years. There is a CS who came and banned you from taking even a leaf to cook. The leaves are rotting,” Gachagua said.
The comments ignited a debate with top environmentalists as well as politicians expressing divergent views on whether the country was ready for the adoption of the system.
The ban was imposed in January 2021 by Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration on grounds that the farming system popular during the late President Daniel arap Moi’s era degraded the environment.
Work for the people
Meanwhile, speaking in Embu town on Sunday, Bishop Moses Masamba of Mbeere ACK diocese urged elected leaders to ensure they work for the people.
"Locals have so many challenges which are affecting them, as leaders you should meet the needs of these people," Masamba urged.
On her part, Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire pledged to ensure equal distribution of resources across the county to address challenges facing the people.