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H.E. President William Samoei Ruto, PhD, launched the Forestry and Land Restoration Acceleration Programme to increase the country’s forest cover to 30 per cent by 2032 from the current 12.13 per cent. The programme is a response to the ravaging climate challenges and to improve Kenya’s mitigation. The President asked State and non-State actors to embrace tree planting dubbed #Towards15BillionTrees and starting the #JazaMiti campaign.

In support of the programme, on December 21, 2022, the National Irrigation Authority, led by the Acting Chief Executive Officer, Eng. Charles Muasya joined the drive by planting 1,000 Hass avocado seedlings near Thiba Dam. Another 1,000 pieces were distributed to Mwea Irrigation Scheme farmers.

The CEO assured the farmers that the Authority was reviving its tree nurseries in Mwea Irrigation Agricultural Development Centre, Bura Irrigation Scheme, Tana Irrigation Scheme, Perkerra Irrigation Scheme and Ahero Irrigation Scheme.

The five tree nurseries will be instrumental in the production of fruit tree seedlings for crops such as mangoes, avocados, macadamia and coconuts. The seedlings will be distributed across the country with the aim of increasing the forest cover as well as serving as a source of income and food. He committed to support the nurseries to produce enough seedlings to support the national agenda.

Eng. Muasya stressed the importance of increasing tree cover in the country in relation to irrigation, saying that having reliable and sustainable irrigation water goes hand in hand with planting more trees, especially in the water catchment areas.

Fruit tree seedlings are instrumental in addressing climate change in two ways, namely climate change mitigation through increasing carbon sinks by sequestering carbon and they are a source of food and livelihoods for farmers and hence address climate change adaptation.

Dr Ruto asked Kenyans to intentionally place environmental conservation at the centre of socio-economic transformation.