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Greens of Africa Foundation, KDF to plant over 1 million tree seedlings

Greens of Africa Foundation in conjunction with the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) have embarked on a programme to plant one million tree seedlings during this year’s long rain season, an official has said.

The foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Jedidah Wanyeki, said more than five million five million tree seedlings had been planted country-wide in the last five years, through the Environmental Soldier programme coordinated by her organization and the KDF.

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Wanyeki said this at Wireless Village in Uyombo Sublocation in Kilifi North Sub County, Kilifi County, where her organization, Equity Bank and soldiers from the Kenya Army and Kenya Navy joined members of the Mida Creek Conservation Community (MCCC) in planting 70,000 mangrove tree seedlings.

MCCC is an umbrella organization of more than 30 conservation community-based organizations (CBOs) working under the Watamu and Sokoke Community Forest Association (CFAs) said the impact of working with the KDF was great because the soldiers usually look after the trees they grow, leading to high levels of survival.

She said her organization and the KDF in collaboration with sponsors such as Equity Bank with a view to empowering the communities by assisting them to start income generating activities such as raising tree nurseries and buying the seedlings from them.

“Equity Bank works with community organizations to ensure that all the seedlings they (communities) are producing are bought and this becomes an income-generating activity to the organizations,” she said.

Wanyeki added that her organization and Equity Bank also support the communities to acquire beehives which they use to harvest honey from mature mangrove trees, thus boosting their incomes.

Equity Bank’s Malindi Branch Manager David Mungai said the activity was part of the bank’s ambitious plant to plant 35 million trees and support the government’s programme of increasing the country’s tree cover.

He said the bank had so far planted over 25 million trees within the Republic of Kenya and that it was looking forward to achieve its target of 35 million tree seedlings.

“Specifically for this morning, both Malindi and Mtwapa branches have partnered with Sita Umoja Conservation Group, which is one of the groups under the MCCC here whereby we have donated 200,000 mangrove tree seedlings,” he said.

He said the bank also supports the communities by buying their seedlings in order to enable them to generate income.

Members of the MCCC lauded Greens of Africa Foundation, the KDF and Equity Bank for supporting their conservation initiatives and pledged to ensure that all the tree seedlings planted are well taken care of.

They underscored the imortance of mangroves, which they said were good breeding grounds for marine species, protected land from being eaten up by the sea as well as honey production.

 Janet Tatu Katana, a member of one of the groups under the MCCC, thanked the government for bringing allowing KDF soldiers to accompany the various stakeholders to hel area communities to conserve the environment.

Katana enumerated various benefits of mangrove forests among them honey production, fisheries development and protection of land from invasion by the sea.

Her sentiments were echoed by Edward Kitole, one of the officials of the MCCC, who added that mangrove forests were important for fish breeding and had become a tourist attraction as a number of CBOs had initiated tourist establishments within the forests.

He said the MCCC had planted close to 40,000 mangrove tree seedlings since the beginning of this year and was targeting to plant one million trees through the various conservation groups under MCCC.

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