Residents in Kilifi County should prioritize Mangrove tree planting to improve the economy and address the effects of climate change, Grow with us founder Kelly Banda has said.
He also urged environmental defenders to be on the forefront in planting the indeginous trees because they are sources of income through agriculture, and prevent environmental degradation.
Banda said the initiative is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and President William Ruto’s Agenda to increase forest cover by 10 per cent.
He spoke to the residents after planting more than 10,000 Mangroves seedling in Nzombere -Kidundu in Kilifi North Constituency.
Already the Community- Based Organisation has planted over 1,5000,000 Million mangrove trees in the area since its inception.
The CBO founder said the programme was made to a success through the support of different partners.
“We are happy to have seen people turning out in large number to join us in this incentive exercise. We have KWS officers, Kilifi prison officers, Pwani University students and a number of Kilifi Non- governmental Organization,” said Banda.
He noted, that the CBO has been doing conservation with the community around the area for the last 9years.
“For the last nine years we have been working closely with community groups living within the area and they have benefited allot. The community groups make nurseries which we then bought the seedlings and planted within the area,” said Banda.
Kilifi Prison officer Fredrick Opiyo urged residents to embrace the spirit of Mangrove planting.
” Residents should collaborate with our offices to embrace us to plant more trees. This Will boost the required forest cover which is in line with the government vision 2030,” said Opiyo.
Mercline Nyale a resident said they were happy to have the project as it is helping to restore the forest that was destroyed by charcoal burning.
“Our area is one of the area affected by drought, and the forest has been destroyed by charcoal burning. Locals have now abandoned the trade after senstization forum’s and are now concentrating on restoring the forests. Mangrove forests remain an important biodiversity hot spot that must be protected and conserved at all cost” she said.
Mangrove trees are considered important in maintaining and building soil.
They also offer protection against cyclones as well as stabilisation and promoting land accretion,dissipation of winds and tidal.
The total area covered by Mangrove trees in the Country is estimated at 61270 hectares with Lamu County having the biggest area representing 61 percent, Kilifi and Kwale counties representing 14 percent each.
Mombasa and Tana River taking 6 percent and 5 percent respectively.