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Monday holiday: Inside Cabinet's plan to ensure Kenyans plant 100M trees

November 13 was declared as a special public holiday to mark the National Tree Planting Day

President William Ruto planting a tree at The Grove of Nations in Jerusalem Forest, Israel on May 9, 2023.

Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya has revealed how the government plans to ensure that Kenyans plant 100 million trees on Monday, November 13.

She said that the country would taking advantage of the short rains and plant at least 100 million seedlings nationwide.

The focal point of the campaign will be the National launch presided over by President William Ruto at Kiu Wetland in Makindu, Makueni County.

Away from the president's event, specific sites have been earmarked in each county for simultaneous launches.

To ensure widespread participation, Cabinet secretaries will champion tree-growing activities in at least two counties, collaborating with local leaders, including governors, members of Parliament, and MCAs.

The strategy employs a "whole of government" approach, with County Commissioners tasked to coordinate technical planning teams in their respective counties.

These teams will comprise representatives from the Kenya Forest Service County Conservators, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) County Directors, and various stakeholders, both state and non-state actors.

A comprehensive assessment of seedling availability has been conducted, revealing a substantial stock of 150 million plantable seedlings at the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) and Kenya Forest Service (KFS) nurseries nationwide.

In addition to government facilities, private nurseries managed by women and youth groups within community forest associations and community-based organizations also have millions of seedlings available for purchase.

Cabinet Secretary Tuya urged citizens to embrace the initiative by buying seedlings from these community-run nurseries, emphasizing the importance of individual contributions to achieving the ambitious goal.

"In the true Kenyan spirit, let us buy a seedling or two from these community-run nurseries and plant in our shambas," she remarked.

Acknowledging the challenge of conducting such an extensive tree-planting effort on a public holiday, Tuya implored Kenyans to prioritize environmental stewardship.

"For the sake of the well-being of our environment and for mother nature, and as a call to national duty, I urge all of us to honor the National Tree Growing Day," she declared.

On November 6, Interior CS Kithure Kindiki said that the National Tree Planting Day was a result of a Cabinet resolution on Friday November 3.

President William Ruto launched a program to plant 15 billion trees in Kenya by 2032 as part of a plan to stop the cycle of recurring droughts and combat the effects of climate change.

The initiative aims to reduce greenhouse emissions, stop and reverse deforestation, and rehabilitate and restore 10.6 million hectares of land.

The plan involves growing five billion trees in five years and an additional 10 billion by 2032.

President Ruto has called on counties and regions to distribute tree seedlings for planting along escarpment areas to curb mudslides and has reaffirmed the government's commitment to plant 15 billion tree seedlings by 2032.

The program will involve recruiting 2,700 rangers and involving all departments, including the Kenya Defence Forces, Prisons, police, National Youth Service, Kenya Forest Service, and Kenya Wildlife Service.

For the country to achieve President William Ruto’s commitment to grow 15 billion trees by the next decade, at least four million trees must be planted daily.

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