Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Government and women launch commercial tree planting drive
Women have joined the tree planting campaign in partnership with the government for socio-economic benefits.

Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organization (MYWO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy launched a tree planting exercise today, with more than 6 million trees to be planted in 45 districts during the first phase of the three years period.

The Minister for Energy Kiraitu Murungi said, his ministry expects that the campaign will meet not only the economic needs of Kenyans, but also their energy needs.

Firewood remains a dominant source of energy in Kenya despite the Rural Electrification program which is mainly used for lighting.

Kiraitu emphasised that the government would support the empowerment of women by educating them on tree planting in order to maximize on their extended network at the grassroots.

The minister said the government will ban the importation electricity poles and ensure the 6 billion shillings is spent to purchase the posts locally, in the coming financial year. The electricity posts are presently imported from neighbouring countries and South America.

Meanwhile the minister for Gender, Children and Social Development, Esther Mirugi asked the government to ensure that women benefit financially from this initiative. Minister who was present at the launch of the tree planting exercise challenged Maendeleo ya Wanawake to plant a billion trees and make it a continuous process.

She reiterated comments by Jane Kiano, MYWO Patron, to nurture the trees so as to have maximum benefits. Murugi promised the women further funding from her ministry to sustain the tree project.

MYWO chairperson, Rukia Subow, on the other hand commended the tree planting effort appealed to women to join the 57 year-old organisation that has 3 million memberships, a small fraction of the 18.9 million of women in the country.

Director, Capacity Building &Technology Deployment, Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International, Rose Njeru says, it takes close to seven years to have fully grown eucalyptus tree ready for harvest.

Kenya has less than 2% forest cover and recently it suffered a blow from the wild fire that lessened the MAU forest and continuous depletion by squatters.

On Monday, the Ministry of Environment launched a nation wide tree planting drive in Kona Baridi in Ngong which was graced by President Mwai Kibaki and the Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
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