The much anticipated project of fencing the 117 kilometres long Kakamega Tropical Rainforest was officially launched this Friday in an event attended by various stakeholders among them Kakamega County Governor H.E FCPA Fernandes Barasa.
In his speech, Governor Barasa appreciated all partners for committing to raise over KES. 500 Million in a span of four years to complete erection of a perimeter electric fence aimed at restoring the glory of Kenya’s only existing tropical rain forest; and urged the local community to support the initiative.
The partners include Vihiga County Government, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Kenya Wildlife Services, Kenya Forest Service, NET Fund and Rhino Ark among others.
The Governor further implored relevant authorities to end illegal logging, encroachment, and/or conversion of the forest land to agriculture, settlement and/or other forms of infrastructural development so as to safeguard the essential natural resource.
Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry Hon. Soipan Tuya assured that the National Government will fully support afforestation efforts to ensure the country achieves the targeted 10 percent forest cover an initiative which has been boosted by President William Ruto’s Agenda of planting 15 Billion trees countrywide as a mitigation measure against the effects of climate change.
Deputy Governor H.E Ayub Savula urged for formulation of proper policies to guide usage of the forest by local communities which have for long benefited from the resource calling for donor support to find alternative sources of energy as a measure of controlling encroachment by residents.
The initial funding that set the fencing project in motion was provided by the Government of Japan represented at the event by Ambassador Ken Okinawa who promised to support future programs and efforts aimed at rehabilitating, conserving and protecting the fragile ecosystem.
The event was also attended by other leaders among them Vihiga County Governor H.E Dr Wilbur Otichillo, Kakamega Women Representative Hon. Elsie Muhanda and Senator Boni Khalwale. Also present were Mr. Anthony Ngororano, Resident Representative, UNDP Kenyaand Rhino Ark CEO Çhristian Lambrechts.