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Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya and Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ezekiel Machogu on Friday led a national tree planting drive at the Kitale Township Forest in Kwanza Sub County, part of Kenya’s landscape and ecosystem restoration programme.

The initiative, championed by President William Ruto, aims to grow 15 billion trees by 2032. The government also plans to increase the acreage of land under forest cover from 12% to 30%.

Natembeya, who planted 100 tree seedlings, emphasized the ecological and economic benefits of trees. He highlighted their role in job creation, soil quality improvement, and prevention of soil erosion. He also underscored their importance as a source of food, clean oxygen, medicine, and as agents of climate change.

β€œTrees should no longer be seen as an academic exercise. We need a paradigm shift that will see trees planted in homes and other institutions,” said Natembeya. β€œWe must strive to reach the annual target of at least 11.9 million tree seedlings.”

CS Machogu echoed Natembeya’s sentiments, challenging residents of Trans Nzoia to double their efforts in tree planting. β€œTrans Nzoia is lucky to have the most hardworking Governor, George Natembeya, who has dedicated himself to the protection of the environment,” said Machogu.

During the event, 15,000 tree seedlings of varied species were planted at the Kitale Forest, with an additional 3,000 seedlings distributed to locals. The CS emphasized the need to guard the trees against destruction.

County Commissioner Gideon Oyagi disclosed that a total of 3 million tree seedlings had been planted across the county. He challenged residents to take tree planting as seriously as they do maize planting. He also urged large institutions in the county to adopt forests to increase the forest cover.

β€œI sincerely express my gratitude to all the stakeholders who generously responded to my appeal for tree seedlings, hence making today’s event successful,” said Oyagi. He urged the public to embrace the national tree planting exercise to ensure the planted trees survived to maturity.

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