Busia leaders and the provincial administration have pledged to improve the County’s forest and tree cover which currently stands at 1.01 percent compared to the national figure of 2.89% and the global target of 10%.
County Executive Committee Member for Water, Environment and Natural Resources Dr. Isaac Waluke said Busia County is ranked 44th out of 47 counties, ahead of Kisumu, Siaya and Migori.
He said Sh9 million approved by the County Assembly to go towards tree planting was a drop in the ocean.
” We are expecting a grant of Sh120m from the European Union under Kenya water Towers Protection Program. It will go towards planting of trees and forests in water catchment areas and to promote bamboo growth which has a lot of economic value. Toothpick, chairs roof ceiling is made from bamboo,” he said.
County Commissioner Michael Tialal told county residents to use at least 10 percent of their land to plant trees, adding that he has planted 10,000 trees and will plant more.
Tialal said tree cover was an important component of the National Government’s four agenda of food security, manufacturing, health and affordable houses.
Butula Member of parliament Joseph oyula said he has 12 acres under forest and urged his constituents to emulate him. He pledged 20,000 seedlings for his constituents.
Oyula said a bill is on the way to ensure each learning institution in the country plants trees as it strives to achieve the global target of 10%.
A member of the Environment and Natural resources committee Nancy Okademi said the committee has approved a budget Sh2m to fight the yellow wild weed (Kusukuta) and Sh5m for bamboo protection.
Acting Chief Officer Water, Environment and natural resources Moses Weunda said the County Government is determined to raise the tree cover in the next few years.