Murmurs as RUTO authorizes a private company to ‘destroy’ forests days after forcing Kenyans to plant trees – Look!

Wednesday, May 15, 2024 – In what is likely to elicit mixed reactions from Kenyans, President William Ruto has authorized a private company to 'destroy' forests by harvesting wood.

This comes days after Ruto led Kenyans in planting trees countrywide to increase forest cover.

In a statement yesterday, Ruto gave the green light to factories housed under the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) umbrella to harvest wood in government forests and to grow trees in protected lands belonging to the Kenya Forestry Service (KFS). 

Ruto issued the directive at State House, Nairobi, during a meeting with KTDA tea factory chairmen and directors.

This was after KTDA management requested an opportunity to take part in Ruto’s climate change agenda. 

The directors remarked that most of their factories used firewood as the main source of fuel and as such would be willing to plant more trees if they had the space. 

“Because you sometimes use wood fuel in your factories you want to work with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to see whether you can participate in growing trees in a manner that is mutually beneficial,” Ruto spoke of the request.

“You have asked that we allocate you spaces in our forested areas and you can do commercial forestry where you harvest and we share the benefits between your factories and KFS.”

Ruto revealed that he had consulted with Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya and the request was deemed feasible. 

Additionally, the Kenya Forest Service had briefed the President that the move would help in the greening of the country and reverse the adverse effects of climate change.

The Head of State added that the framework agreement must capture how KTDA will harvest the trees commercially in a manner that is beneficial to them and the government.

KTDA is a private holding company owned by small-holder tea farmers in Kenya. 


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