Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Board Tours Field Stations & Partner Facilities

 As part of its induction and familiarisation the members of KFS Board of Directors were in the field for four days traversing the Mau, North Rift, Western and Nyanza Conservancies  in a visit aimed at allowing them an opportunity to interact with field officers and some of the stakeholders who partner with the Service.

While in Mau, they visited the Menengai Forest Station that is host to Geothermal Development Company’s (GDC) steam drilling units. GDC is a licensee exploring for geothermal for power generation from the various steam outlets found in the forest.
Another facility visited was the Kibunja China Road and Bridge Corporation former site and residential camp for the contractor of the Lanet-Timboroa Highway project.  As part of the licensing arrangement, KFS has inherited the two sites which will be converted into Staff residential compound and Field Base.

The next day the entourage visited Timboroa Forest Station where they were received by members of the community led by CFA officials who took the Board through the benefits they have enjoyed from their symbiotic relationship with the Service in the form of PELIS. In the nearby Nabkhoi Forest Station the Board also saw the huge plantation backlogs that are typical of many areas where a shortage of resources caused backlogs. In the same area the Board also visited an outpost that will house Rangers manning the Koibatek-Uasin Gishu border that is prone to timber poaching activities.

In the afternoon, the group was hosted at the Raiply Factory one of the leading timber value addition players in the region. The huge factory manufacturers plyboards, chipboards, ceiling boards, hardboards and furniture from  timber bought from KFS plantations. The organisation is also one of the leading partners who have assisted KFS in replanting the various plantations they have harvested. Their nurseries also produce 1.3 million seedlings that they have donated to the Service in the past as part of their corporate citizenship initiative. The Board was also shown other initiatives undertaken by the factory especially in the area of decent staff housing.

The next day a visit to one of the local small holder  tea factories in Chebut was arranged with a view of the Board hearing from an industry that consumes huge quantities of fuelwood in their manufacture process. At the Kapsabet-based factory they were taken round the factory’s tree nursery which produces subsidised seedling for farmers who practice agro-forestry on their farms. The factory also reported that they have invested in 110 acres of land for tree planting. The use of fuel wood compared to industrial diesel is cost effective and therefore preferred by many tea manufacturers, however there are concerns raised about the sustainability of the copious quantities of timber necessary.

Next in the itinerary was the Kimondi forest station which is one of the better infrasture-endowed stations in the area where the Board was shown the nursery activities funded by various initiatives including by Kazi Kwa Vijana project, etc.

As we came to the end of the North Rift Conservancy tour, a   viewing of the Cheptumia area which was invaded by squatters was the last stop before the group headed to the Western Conservancy. Mr.  Solomon Mibey was to hand over the group to his counterpart Eng. Dominic Otieno at the Rondo Retreat, an eco-tourism site in Kakamega Forest.  After a brief stop over in the Retreat, the group was next hosted by the Muileshi CFA and Kakamega Environmental Education Programme (KEEP) who are all running very successful community projects including tourism bandas, snake keeping, butterfly farming and tour guiding.

The next day the tour culminated in Nyanza Conservancy where the Mr. Fredrick Ogombe played host and showcased nurseries at Maseno Station, a charcoal project in Bondo amongst other areas of interest. Senior management staff led by Director Mr. D.K Mbugua also accompanied the members of the Board.

Report by Raphael Mworia

 HOC North  Rift, Mr. Mibey briefing the Board and Management at his office's lawns in Eldoret. 
 Board members and management keenly listen to the presentation.
 (L-R) KFS Director, Chairman of the Board, Prof. Richard Musangi, Vice-Chairperson, Mrs. Margaret Gitonga and Senior Deputy Director, E.N.Mugo
 PELIS in action, showing a young pine plantation interplanted with potatoes
 Chairman addresses member of the Timboroa Community Forest Association.
 Chairman address ENCOM staff in Kimondi Forest Station in Nandi North. He is flanked by Commandant, Col.(RTD) J.N. Kimani (in a bush hat)
 Mr. Mibey handed over the group to his colleague Eng. Otieno at the serene Rondo Retreat

 Chairman addresses member of the Muilashi CFA in Kakamega Forest Station- Isicheno 
 Chairman plants a commemorative tree in Nyanza Conservancy Offices.
 Mr. John Oli'nga, a Board Member representing PS Tresury plants a commemorative tree assisted by the Kisumu Zonal Manager, Mr. Kibuka

 Vice-Chairman, Margaret Gitonga meets the Nyanza Conservancy staff
 Mr. Ogombe briefs the entourage outside his offices in Kisumu 
 An Acacia plantation in Bondo planted for sustainable charcoal production.
 An Acacia plantation
 A demonstration of new domestic charcoal kilns
Chairman of Nyanza Forest Conservation Committee, Mr. Jeff Odera addresses the group at the cultutrally important Got Ramogi forest where the local community has set up an eco-tourism site.

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