Forestry and Wildlife Minister Dr. Noah Wekesa has assured the partial logging ban imposed in October 1999 will soon be lifted. In a speech read on his behalf by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Mr. Mohammed Wa-Mwachai at the Kenya Forestry College (Friday, 20th August), Dr. Wekesa said there is every indication that the partial ban on plantation forest harvesting will be done away with.
The partial ban has given rise to lucrative black market for timber thereby creating an incentive for illegal logging. This has driven the cost of forest policing and enforcement sky-high depriving other forest management practices like conservation and forest establishment of scarce resources.
He said the ban though well intended has been an invisible driver of illegal logging by placing the value on timber very high resulting in attractive returns for the illegally obtained forest products especially timber.
Due to the partial ban, 95,000 acres of over-mature forest industrial plantation valued at over KSh 36 billion are undergoing value deterioration due to heart rot and windfalls. At the same time, there are approximately 45,000 acres of forest plantations between ages 10 – 22 due for commercial thinning with potential to generate KSh. 3.5 billion.
He said his Ministry through the Kenya Forest Service has generated plantation logging plans, and is soon going to complete an inventory that will establish with precision the extent of forest plantations in Kenya. Currently the forest plantation estate is 312,500 acres that comprises 6% of the gazetted forests.
Shortage of timber in the market has led to over-cutting of private forests and wood-lots, trees that are meant for soil and water conservation on farm lands.
He noted that when the ban is lifted, allocation of harvesting areas will be through the provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005 that provides for competitive bidding, while maintaining a reserve price.
For additional information please contact Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife Head of Public Communications Mr. Mwangi Gakunga on 0722801940 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org