The FY 2019/2020 begun with a commitment to enhance the Ministry of Environment & Forestry National goal of planting and growing over 250 million trees by 2022, an initiative which is part of the Governments strategy aimed at increasing Kenya’s forest cover, protecting and conserving habitats and curbing the vagaries of climate change.
NETFUND Ag. CEO together with the chair of NETFUND Board of management launched, the tree planting campaign at Maranda Boys High School in Siaya County which has the lowest forest cover at 0.41 percent in the Country.
In line with our vision of sustainable financing for environmental management in Kenya, NETFUND has partnered with several institutions, counties, individuals and community groups to raise tree seedlings and in tree growing exercises.
You don’t have to look far to appreciate that climate change is real. The country is experiencing more frequent changes in weather patterns that have led to drought and famine on one extreme and flooding on the other. As a result, we have paid the price through loss of life and livelihoods. No other time has this been more evident than this year. The year started with extreme high temperatures, some of the highest that have ever been recorded.
The rains which normally start in the middle of March began at the end of April, and are inconsistent across the country. Thousands of Kenyans in various parts of Kenya are already facing starvation as a result of poor harvest last season.
We need to face the reality that Kenya’s climate is rapidly changing. The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented strong evidence that surface temperatures across Africa have increased by 0.5-2°C over the past 100 years, and from 1950 onward, climate change has changed the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events. Since 1960, Kenya has experienced a general warming trend, reported as being about 1°C, or 0.21°C per decade. This temperature increase has been observed across all seasons, but particularly from March to May. Variation between locations has occurred, with a lower rate of warming along the coast. Rainfall patterns have also changed. The long rains have been declining continuously in recent decades, and droughts have become longer and more intense and tend to continue across rainy seasons. Droughts in Kenya affect about 4.8 million people on average as a result of Climate Change.
We sincerely appreciate all our partners who have been part of this noble course of planting trees and more importantly seeing the trees grow to maturity, our forests and water towers protected and our society educated on the importance of planting trees. It is time to change the story. Changing the story is, however, not just about planting a tree; it is about growing a tree where it has the most impact.