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Nobel Laureate prof Wangari Maathai has been invited to preside over the official launch of the environment-oriented Kagoech New Dawn Foundation in November this year in Kenya, where crucial matters revolving around environmental conservation will take center stage.
The patron of the foundation, Micah Kigen, lauded the world renown Nobel Peace winner for her indefatigable efforts in protecting the environment saying the people of Keiyo district, Rift Valley Province, would enthusiastically receive her during the auspicious occasion.
At the same time, Kigen- also recognized for his vision on the interesting and challenging environmental world in Kenya, announced that the Kagoech Foundation had launched a campaign to plant 10 million tree seedlings in Keiyo district this year alone.
"I appeal to all partners to join hands with my Foundation in order to improve the rehabilitation of the Keiyo forest", stated an emphatic and concerned Kigen.
"We have partnered with the Kenya Forest Service to rehabilitate Keiyo forest and in the conservation of the water catchment areas. We expect prof Wangari Maathai to kick off the campaign in November."
Kigen, who is also a leading business executive in Africa, underscored the importance of environmental conservation not only in Kenya, but also in Africa and the world at large.
He noted that environmental destruction was an international disaster which should be combated at all costs.
"There is every need for us, as citizens of the world, to do everything possible at our disposal to protect the environment for the benefit of the current generation and posterity, since a proper environment leads to a better and developed world", a composed Kigen stressed to wild cheering, ululation and feet-thumping from the huge crowd.
The occasion at which Kigen spoke was the Kagoech Foundation Trust ceremony to sign a Memorandum of understanding with CFA'S (Community Forest Associations).
Kigen echoed the government policy of 10% to any privately-owned land in the country saying Keiyo was no exception, hence the need for Kagoech's partnership with the Kenya Forest Service to rehabilitate Keiyo forests smashed or annihilated during the 2007 ugly orgy of election violence.
"There is need for the government to put in place measures against wanton destruction of forests as it is a threat to food security," said Micah Kigen.
Meanwhile, more than 10,000 families evicted from public forests in the North Rift region want the government to allocate them alternative land.
The families who were forcefully moved from forests in Uasin Gishu, Nandi South and Marakwet districts more than five years ago, said the eviction interfered with their socio-economic lifestyles subjecting them to poverty.
"It was wrong for the government to evict the families without putting in place mechanisms on how to resettle them," said Francis Mutwol, former Marakwet West MP.
The government evicted more than 3,000 families from Embobut forest in Marakwet district and more than 6,000 others from Kipkurere, Cengalo, Serengony and Tindiret forests in Uasin Gishu and Nandi south Districts.
They were accused of wanton destruction of public forests and water catchemnet areas that are the main sources of water to rivers in the region.
The families have sought refugee from relatives while others are camping on road reserves along the forest.
The government has not carried out any re-planting of trees has not been implemented while water volumes on most rivers and streams remain low," said Joseph Yamto, a victim from Serengony forest.
The displaced families depend on well-wishers and humanitarian organizations such as Kenya Red Cross Society for their basic needs including food, shelter and clothing.
But the Kenya Forestry Services (KFS) and environmental lobby groups in the region have warned that several rivers are threaten with dying up due to wanton forest destruction.
"At least eight streams flowing from Kaptagat forest have dried up in the past couple of years. springs that feed rivers flowing to River Kerio and Sosiani River are on the verge of drying," explains Mr John Chumo of Friends of Nandi Environmentalists, a local lobby group.
Agricultural experts warn that massive destruction of the forest has contributed to climatic change resulting in declined crop yields.
"The region has of late recorded erratic rainfall pattern which disrupts the planting programmes for farmers resulting in declined crop production," discloses Joseph Langat, an agricultural extension Officer from Nandi South District.
The indiscriminate forest destruction has resulted in decline of the country´s canopy from 3.1 per cent in 1963 to less than one per cent which is below the international standards of 10 per cent.
The government recently announced plans to lift logging activities in public forests following a ban imposed over 10 years ago that led to increased prices of timber products.