NETFUND on June 26, 2020 led various stakeholders to mobilize over 18,000 tree seedlings for the 4TH Edition of Annual Kaptagat forest tree planting under Kaptagat integrated conservation programme aimed at restoring Kaptagat forest which is a major source of water to both Elgeyo Marakwet and Uasin Gishu counties to its original status as well as attainment of the National 10% forest cover target by 2022.
Among the stakeholders who came on board to support the event were: Government agencies under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Insurance Regulatory Authority, National oil, Elgeyo Marakwet and Uasin Gishu Counties, Kenya Dairy Board, RUPAS Mall, KALRO, New KCC, Brand Kenya, National Chamber of Commerce, Kenya Accreditation Service, Lake Victoria North Water Services Board, Export Processing Zones Authority, Kerio Valley Development Authority, National Irrigation Board, Eldoret Water and Sanitation Company, Kenya Commercial Bank, The Water Companies Organization (WASCO), UNDP, European Union, WWF Kenya and the Community members.
The event was presided over by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko, who was accompanied by the Principal Secretary Dr. Chris Kiptoo; Mr. Peter Kinyua, Chairman KFS, Board; Dr. Julius Malombe, Chairman KWTA Board; Chairman NETFUND Board of Trustees Hon. Moses Akaranga; Representatives from Elgeyo Marakwet and Uasin Gishu Counties; Amb. Simon Mordue – EU Ambassador, Walid Badawi – UNDP Residential Representative
The North Rift region has this year received 25 million seedlings with 90 per cent so far planted according to the North Rift Ag. Head of conservancy Anthony Musyoka. He said four million seedlings have been planted in Elgeyo Marakwet County which aims to increase its forest cover from the current 37 per cent to 45 per cent in 2022, while Uasin Gishu County targets to double its cover from 7.6 per cent to 15 per cent over the same period.
Speaking during the ceremony, Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko instructed Kenya Forest Service to replenish the Kaptagat Forest with indigenous trees and also promised to gazette the forest as a critical water tower by the end of 2020.
The CS urged the local community to support the government restoration efforts and added that Kaptagat Forest is a critical water tower that supplies water to the Lake Victoria region, Turkana and all the way to Egypt, and destruction of the forest will affect people down and up stream.
NETFUND has so far established tree nurseries across the country targeted to produce cumulatively over 500,000 indigenous tree seedlings in the counties of Siaya, Kajiado, Kirinyaga and Narok in support of the Presidential Directive, through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to accelerate attainment of 10% national tree cover by 2022.