The Kalokol Community Forest Association (CFA) was trained on sustainable utilisation of forest resources and the roles and responsibilities of the association under the devolved forestry functions.
The Department of Natural Resources – under the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources – is expected to support the associations to be on the forefront of forest management around their area of residence.
Speaking at the baraza in town before the training, Chief Officer of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources Pauline Lokuruka said that the county is working to empower forest associations with the necessary protection and conservation skills.
“We want to empower the associations so that the county can be buying seedlings from them during national tree planting days,” said Chief Lokuruka.
According to the Deputy Director of Natural Resources Pauline Ngoli Pusiye, forest management is under the county government; “The forests are our responsibility to manage, conserve and protect as stipulated under the forestry devolved.”
The department’s focus will be nature-based enterprises like harvesting gum arabica from trees to protect and conserve the forests. On the issue of charcoal, the department was also working a charcoal management plan to develop a sustainable charcoal industry that benefits the communities in county.
One of the benefits of forming a CFA is that the community can identify their specific threats and solutions. In Kalokol, the biggest threat has been to the palm trees which locals use for smoking fish.
With technical support from Kenya Forest Service (KFS), said Johnson Komu, the Assistant Eco-system Conservator – Turkana County, CFAs will be able develop a constitution that is inline with the National Government’s rules and regulations.
In partnership with KFS, which is still has the enforcement mandate, the Natural Resources department hopes to deter wanton destruction of forests for firewood and charcoal burning.
The department and KFS distributed 250 seedlings at the centre.