The County Government and Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) will partner to support sustainable development of forestry and natural resources in Turkana.
In a meeting yesterday with the KEFRI Board of Directors, Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro said the partnership will equip the County Government with the needed practical expertise to address deforestation, protection of indigenous tree species and stop encroachment of land along the revirine.
The DG said KEFRI’s core mandate of conducting research in forestry and allied natural resources, will help to develop knowledge and best practices in forest and natural resource management.
He said Turkana as the rest of ASALs was grappling with effects of global warming which called for adoption of best practices to fight climate change.
DG Lotethiro said the partnership will include practice of agroforestry within irrigation schemes in the county as part of efforts to increase forest cover in the county.
The DG urged the Department to identify forests for Gazettement following the Gazette of Loima Hills as a water tower last year by the Kenya Water Towers Agency. He said better support was needed for ASAL counties to realise individual targets towards achieving Vision 2030 target of 10 percent forest cover for Kenya.
He urged KEFRI to support the campaign to stop infestation of brosopis which has colonized most parts of Turkana and called for the lift of the ban on charcoal burning to allow control of the spread of brosopis.
The Deputy Governor received from KEFRI Board Chairman Robin Ng’ethe, who led the delegation, the Institute’s 6th Strategic Plan that was launched last year.
Mr. Ng’ethe said the team was in Turkana to familiarize with the activities of the station and enhance partnership with the County Government.
He said the Institute shared a long association with the County Government as Governor Nanok served as Assistant Minister in the Forestry and Wildlife Ministry.
Further areas of partnership the chairman raised include mapping of forest areas, identification and Gazetting of forests for protection and the development of framework for internship and training.
County Executive for Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources Charles Lokiyoto revealed that the Department was drafting a bill to regulate charcoal burning in Turkana which he said despite being a source of livelihood for residents and revenue to the government, had to be controlled.
Chief Officer Pauline Lokuruka assured of support of KEFRI in efforts to transform the county. She commended the organisation for its support in absorbing interns seconded by the department and joint marking of International Day of Forests that took place in Kaaleng’ Turkana North.
Chief of Staff Ekuwom Nakiporo was also in the meeting.