Nandi residents call for extension of ban on logging

A section of Nandi County residents have appealed to the government to extend the 90-day ban on logging to enable regeneration of partially depleted forests in the area.

A community spokesman of residents neighboring Kimondi Forest, Mark Kipkosgey said residents want the Kenya Forest Service compelled to use part of the revenue generated from logging and the shamba system to fund extensive tree planting in the forests.

We applaud the ban on logging decreed by Deputy President, William Ruto and ask the government to extend the period for more than a year said Kipkosgey.

Speaking during a public rally held at Kamobo Centre in Kapsabet Ward on Wednesday, Kipkosgey faulted the manner in which the community partnership in forest conservation is run in the county adding the Community Forest Association (CFA) setup has turned out to be a liability to the public and demanded the outfit be overhauled.

Residents accused CFA officials of running an extortion ring through the shamba system alleging the said officials have overtime shortchanged them through levies they charge villagers farming in the forest.

They claimed besides the Sh.250 fee paid to the government for cultivating in the forests, the officials demand an additional Sh.400 for office operations and another Sh.500 penalty for failure to plant trees but added no receipts are issued for the latter two charges.

The Nandi County Executive Committee Member in charge of Land, Environment and Natural Resources, Jacob Tonui recently disbanded all community forests associations and ordered the officials to account for the funds so far collected from the public for the last ten years.

Tonui said more than 20 acres of Nandi South Forest has been encroached by cartels involved in illegal logging and charcoal production business adding the unscrupulous individuals are now harvesting indigenous trees as well.

He warned forest rangers and grassroots administrators to guard against illegal activities in the forests under their jurisdiction or risk the sack.

Tonui said the county administration will put in place measures to ensure protection of springs, waterways and riparian land by enforcing the prohibition on cultivation of eucalyptus trees ten meters from water sources.

Source: Kenya News Agency