Monday, May 30, 2011

Management agreements for Gathiuru forest signed

The KFS Director Mr. David Mbugua puts his signature to the Gathiuru Forest Station Management Agreements
The Director Kenya Forest Service (KFS) Mr. David Mbugua recently presided over the signing of Gathiuru Forest Station Management Plans that will see the Gathiuru Community Forest Association and KFS work together to sustainably manage the forest.
Present at the function were the members of the Gathiuru CFA led by their officials, KFS officers from Nairobi and the Central Highlands Conservancy, local leadership and the Gathiuru Community.
Speaking at the event, the Director congratulated the members of the CFA for working tirelessly to come up with a workable management agreement. He also thanked stakeholders who supported the initiative saying that forest management was now a collaborative function and responsibility of everyone in the country.
He added that Management Agreements were part of the requirements set out by the Forests Act 2005. He added that this was one way the law was ensuring that the community was actively participating in forest management and drawing benefits from the same.
Speaking at the same event, the Deputy Director Plantation and Enterprise, Mr. Simiyu Wasike also congratulated the Gathiuru CFA and community in general for being a fine example of how the community can work together with the government for the mutual benefit of both. He urged them to utilize forest resources sustainable and to always seek the advice of the Service through the local KFS office on tree planting and other forestry technical activities.

Story by and picture Mike Muratha

Farmers to receive loans to plant trees

By Ally Jamah

Farmers in arid and semi-arid areas will soon access soft loans to encourage them to grow trees to boost their incomes and the country's forest cover.
A new draft document developed by the Ministry of Forestry to seeks to develop growing trees into an attractive business model especially in arid areas.
The document, adopted at a stakeholders’ workshop on Wednesday at a Nairobi hotel, provides for a revolving fund to support farmers who take up the business, among a raft of other incentives under the Support to Community-Based Farm Forestry Enterprise (SCBFFE) project.

Technical support
Once the programme is rolled out, farmers will receive soft loans disbursed through local financial institutions.
Already, Equity Bank has been identified to provide technical support on financial management  and the actual disbursement and collection of payments.
Speaking while opening the workshop, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife Mohammed Wa-Mwachai said that arid and semi arid lands have the highest potential for forestry development.
He explained that if put to proper use, those areas could significantly boost incomes of Kenyans living there and also help the country accomplish the desired 10 per cent forest cover in line with the Constitution.
"The potential of dry lands of Kenya can be unlocked through exploitation of wood and non-wood products," he said
The SCBFFE project is being undertaken by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) through a Government of Japan grant under the Japan Social Development Fund that is administered by the World Bank.

Simple, clear and fast
Wa-Mwachai called on the project management to ensure that the process of accessing the loans is made simple, clear and fast to boost uptake of the resources.
In his remarks, KFS Director David Mbugua said enhanced forestry development in the non-agricultural areas would largely depend on the level of incentives provided to the communities.
"Gone are the days when the Chiefs Act was used to force wananchi to plant trees and now we have the Forest Act that provides clear guidelines on how to enlist public participation in forestation programmes," he said.
Kenya’s forest cover is about 6.2 per cent of the total land area. Private forests constitute only 2.2 per cent of forested area with 97.8 per cent being public forests.

Published on 25/05/2011 in the Standard online edition

KFS' warning on charcoal

By Kiplangat Kirui

Kenya Forest Service has issued a notice to all members of the public in  larger Narok district against stocking more than five bags of charcoal along the Naivasha-Narok highway. KFS zone manager Joshua Charana said those selling outside kiosks and road sides will be arrested and prosecuted.

KFS has impounded 300 bags of charcoal from Narok traders in the past week. He added  that charcoal burning and haphazard clearing of farms contribute to the degradation of the environment. He told farmers to plant trees in their farms in a bid to avert a future crisis.

Nairobi-based environmentalist Jolly Chepkirui Kemei said Kenya might soon turn into a desert if run-away charcoal burning was notstopped. Chepkirui said indiscriminate clearing of land for charcoal and unsuitable farming had reached worrying levels.

She  said that there was need to stop the illegal trade in a move to conserve the environment. “The government and environmentalists had put too much effort on Mau forest yet a lot of destruction was also going on private farms.”Said Chepkirui. 

Source: The Star, 28 May 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Project to Monitor Illegal Cross Boarder Forest Trade Established

A programme to develop a system for regular monitoring and tracking of illegal timber trade at the Kenya/Tanzania boarder is now in place.  
“The project is a milestone in forest conservation monitoring wood movement across the boarders especially with the establishment of the East African Community,” says KFS Senior Deputy Director Mr. E. N. Mugo.
He says KFS is encouraging partners to come on board in sustainable forest conservation in the spirit of public private sector partnerships.
He says the effort will link local and international efforts in providing essential information to inform forest law enforcement.
The programme is funded by the European Union through Food and Agriculture Organization and is being implemented by the East African Wild Life Society.
Programme pilot activities will take place in the Holili/Taveta, Namanga, and Lunga Lunga boarder points.
Information generated from this programme will be shared with KFS and sector institutions to help achieve a comprehensive and coherent strategy to promote better law compliance related to the illegal logging situation and to strengthen structures and systems for stakeholder involvement.    

KFS Senior Deputy Director Mr.  E N Mugo (l),  EU Environment and Social Section Officer Thomas Yatich (2nd l) Director  EAWLS Nigel Hunter and Assistant FAO Representative to Kenya Dr Augusta Abate (r) during the inauguration of the project
Story by Charles Ngunjiri

Africa Wildlife Foundation Partners with KFS to Rehabilitate Enderit Forest Block in Mau

The President of AWF Prof. Hellen Gichohi plants a tree at the Enderit Forest Block in the Mau Narok Forest as the Chairman of the ICS Mr. Hassan Noor Hassan looks on

The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) hosted a tree planting exercise in Mau Narok Forest at the Enderit Forest Station in May that was sponsored by the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) with the aim of restoring degraded parts of the mighty Mau Forest Complex.
Among the organizations that participated in the event were the Ministries of Forestry and Wildlife, Environment and Mineral Resources, the Interim Coordinating Secretariat of Mau Forest (ICS), The Provincial Administration, Kenya Wildlife Service, Serena Hotels, National Environmental Fund and Living Light Foundation among many others.   
The Chairman of the ICS Mr. Hassan Noor Hassan who was the key speaker in the event said that the main aim for the tree planting exercises was to reinstate the Mau Forest after it had undergone immense destruction in the previous years. He added that the hydro power potential of Mau was 547 mega watts which was more than a third of the country’s energy production. He also said that the process of reclaiming the entire Mau was still ongoing and 50,000 hectares of forest land had already been reclaimed and returned to the jurisdiction of KFS.
Mr. Hassan Noor said that the destruction of Mau forest complex had reduced by 70% due to the joint protection patrols by various law enforcement agencies led by KFS and supported by the local community. The chairman stated that conservation and rehabilitation of forests was not meant to raise conflicts with forest adjacent communities but rather to build synergies with them for the sustainable management of concerned forests.
Addressing the same gathering, the President of Africa Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Prof. Hellen Gichohi said that in order to save the wildlife in Kenya, there was need to first save the forests. She added that carbon trade was a good business venture of Kenyans if the Mau and other forest lands were to be reclaimed and conserved for purposes of carbon sequestration. She mentioned that AWF was holding consultations with the government which may see the headquarters of the AWF come to Kenya.
Speaking on behalf of the KFS Director, the Senior Assistant Director incharge of watersheds Mr. Benedict Omondi noted that the government through KFS was doing all it can to restore forestry resources. He added that the Service was planning to rehabilitate at least 5000 hectares in the Mau Forest Complex alone.
Article and picture by Ken Gichuki

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Farmer Field School Tutors Trained

After several days of gruesome training, trainers of the Farmer Field Schools (FFS) finally graduated at a colourful ceremony in Nakuru recently in a ceremony presided over by the Deputy Director Forest Extension Services Mrs. Monicah Kalenda.
The FFS methodology is an extension methodology designed to reach farmers and encourage them to integrate tree planting and food crop farming apart from empowering farmers through capacity building to improve their livelihoods the establishment of various income generating activities.
The event was the culmination of several weeks of training which involved field visits to Farmer Field Schools in the Londiani area and other class work that will enable them adequately take farmers through the one year course. At the end of the course farmers are supposed to have learnt best farming practices which in turn improves their livelihoods.  
The trainees displayed the different things they had learned in the course which included group dynamics,  presentation skills and crop development analysis also known as AESA.
During the graduation ceremony, the guest of honour read a congratulatory message from the Director and reminded them that the concept of the FFS was to eradicate the rigid approach formally used by the government to promote tree planting among farmers. They were reminded that a lot was expected from them especially since this year had been designed as the “International Year of Forests”. 
The graduates were awarded with certificates.
Story by Rahab Gitau


The annual meeting for the Senior Enforcement and Compliance Officers (ENCOM) held in Naivasha recently brought together Regional Commandants from all the ten KFS conservancies in the country and the School of Para-military Training, Londiani to discuss, formulate and develop ENCOM’s Standard Operating Procedure Manuals (SOPs).
the ENCOM Commandant Col. (Rtd) John Kimani opened the forum by thanking the participants in advance for their expected contributions and hoped that the manual will cascade to the people in the grassroots. He urged them to focus on the main challenges saying that saying that most of them had been raised in a previous meeting held in Nyeri.
The Commandant reiterated that the main aim of the workshop was to review the disciplined cadre Procedure Manuals which included processes and procedures for Investigation, Prosecution,  Prosecution, Inspection and Intelligence.
Mr. S. K. Mureithi who represented the workshop’s sponsors the Miti Mingi Maisha Bora Programme (MMMB)  gave a brief overview of ISO: 9001:2008 which generally required each department or division within KFS to document their processes.  He said that the ISO processes which KFS was now implementing will help in delivering quality services.
The Senior Deputy Director Mr. Emilio Mugo who graced the closing ceremony thanked the participant for a productive workshop saying that the SOPs will go a long way in improving services in the division which he termed as critical in the management of forests.
Report by Cpl. Rahab Gitau