State in plan to plant 15 billion trees by 2032 

Jackson Ole Sapit

The head of the Anglican Church of Kenya Jackson Ole Sapit (left) and students plant tree seedlings at ACK Guest House in Makueni County on October 10, 2022. President William Ruto has said his government will plant five billion trees in the next five years, and an additional 10 billion by 2032.

Photo credit: Pius Maundu I Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The President said this will eventually lead to the rehabilitation and restoration of 10.6 million hectares in the 290 constituencies, as well as some specially selected ecosystems and water towers threatened.
  • He noted that climate change is complicating the country’s roadmap towards socio-economic transformation.
  • To address this, he said he had directed that a long-term and sustainable solution be put in place, including greening the country to more than 30 per cent of tree cover by 2032.

To combat the devastating impacts of climate change in Kenya, President William Ruto has said his government will plant five billion trees in the next five years, and an additional 10 billion by 2032.

The President said this will eventually lead to the rehabilitation and restoration of 10.6 million hectares in the 290 constituencies, as well as some specially selected ecosystems and water towers threatened.

“We are concerned about climate change and its impact on Kenya generally and our arid and semi-arid regions in particular. We will address the effects of this phenomenon and its ravaging effects at home and abroad,” he said, terming the ongoing drought the worst in 40 years.

“As a result, we have lost 2.5 million head of livestock owing to drought. Rising food prices have made an already bad situation worse,” he said yesterday in his Mashujaa Day speech.

He noted that climate change is complicating the country’s roadmap towards socio-economic transformation.

To address this, he said he had directed that a long-term and sustainable solution be put in place, including greening the country to more than 30 per cent of tree cover by 2032.

The central role forests play in addressing the effects of climate change has become more prominent now than ever before, thanks to their unparalleled capacity to absorb, store carbon and regulate climate,” he stated while disclosing that of the 59.2 million hectares’ land area in Kenya, only 5.2 hectares are under forest cover.

He called upon the Council of Governors to facilitate more discussions to achieve parity in tree cover across the counties by using peer-to-peer learning and exchange of information.

President Ruto explained that to achieve the ambitious greening plan, his government will continue to support high-quality tree seed production efforts by the Kenya Forestry Research Institute.

“Agro-forestry and farming of avocados, mangoes and macadamia will also open new value chains for our export market, creating new green jobs in the sector,” he said. The President urged all Kenyans to support the government’s target of growing at least 15 billion trees in the next 10 years by planting 300 trees.

“To ensure sustainable funding, Kenya is developing policies and strategies to tap into the global carbon market opportunities, accessible through carbon trading,” said the President.

Additionally, the government will secure and protect public forests, and rehabilitate and restore all degraded water towers and other forest ecosystems across the country, the President said. 

He further announced the immediate recruitment of an additional 2,700 forest rangers and 600 forest officers to secure forests.

“Shortly, I will also be inaugurating the Climate Change Council that will steer Kenya’s climate action through stakeholder engagements coordinated in the Presidency, as required by the Climate Change Act, 2016.”

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