Deputy President William Ruto launched a 10 member multi-sectoral taskforce that will review forestry management across the country.
Mr Ruto told the taskforce headed by the Green Belt Movement Chairperson Marion Wakanyi Kamau when he met them at his Karen office, Nairobi, that sacrifices must be made to restore the lost forest cover in the country.
He said the taskforce, which will present its interim reports in 14 days will among others recommend ways of conserving heavily depleted forests in efforts to attaining the Constitutional threshold of 10 percent forest cover in the country.
The Deputy President said to attain 10 percent forest cover, we must make hard choices such as banning human activities and encroachment in forests. Involving communities in reafforestation and increasing resources for forest management will address water scarcity and help realise food security.
“This taskforce has a clear mandate. We have close to 120,000 plantations that have no trees. We have another similar of indigenous plantations that have no trees. There is also 3 million acres of land that need to be planted with trees. The taskforce has a duty to tell us and recommend to the Government on how all deflated areas are planted with trees,” said Mr Ruto.
“We want to hear from the taskforce if it is tenable to continue having plantations inside gazetted forests or relocate outside gazetted areas. These are among the options we expect this committee to give us within the stipulated period,” said Mr Ruto.
He said the taskforce was also expected to come up with recommendations on how to raise more resources for better management of the forests and environment.
Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko and Principal Secretary Charles Sunkuli were present.
“But we want to make it absolutely clear that we are ready and willing to make tough sacrifices if the taskforce recommends tough measures to be taken to recover the lost forest areas,” said Mr Ruto.
Mr Ruto said the Government would do everything it could to ensure the exercise doesn’t become a Public Relations (PR) one as has been in the past.
“In the past, some people launched such exercises by simply going to the forest areas, plant some few trees and that becomes the end of the story. We will not do that,” said Mr Ruto.
He said the Government’s plans to have a 10 percent forest cover by 2030 was still on course, saying the efforts were part of the measures being undertaken to mitigate climate change.