Kakamega County Secretary and Head of Public Service Dr. Lawrence Omuhaka, this evening at the County headquarters, received a delegation from the Board of Trustees of the National Environment Trust Fund (Netfund-K) who had come to pay a courtesy call on the Governor H.E. FCPA Fernandes Barasa.

Dr Omuhaka thanked the officials, led by Netfund’s Chairperson Mr. David Mwaure Waihiga, for partnering with Kakamega County in erection of an electric perimeter fence around the Kakamega Forest Ecosystem, that is the eastern-most relic of the once vast Guinea-Congolian equatorial forests and the only true equatorial rainforest found in Kenya today.

Omuhaka said the forest has the highest plant diversity per unit area across tropical Africa and is a watershed for River Isiukhu and River Yala. In addition it is designated as an Important Bird Area because it hosts large numbers of endemic, unique and diverse species.

He noted that the area of the forest adopted and rehabilitated by Netfund is recording an improvement in ecological integrity as well as improved diversity as a result of assisted natural regeneration.

Mr. Mwaure affirmed the commitment by the National Government through the Ministry for Environment, Climate Change and Forestry to ensure protection of the forest, as the Country strives to realize the national campaign to plant 15 billion trees in ten years in a bid to reach 30% tree cover in Kenya, an agenda by by the President H.E. Dr. William Ruto.

Netfund is also addressing the menace of illegal harvesting of forest products through upscaling sensitization programmes to raise importance of forest conservation. Also, Netfund has been spearheading capacity building of Women and Youths groups around Kakamega forest to invest in nature based enterprises such as commercial tree seedling production and investment in domestication of forest products. Others include financing value chain addition and volarization of natural products through development of cottage industries.

Also present were MCA Hon. Scholastica Ngina, Chief of Staff Mr. Kassim Were and Mr. Echesa Busalire, the Economic Adviser and Head of Protocol.