The Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Ministry of Environment and Forestry Hon. Mohamed Elmi Planting the Ceremonial tree during the ACC-LVB project Launch at Teso KMTC in Busia County
The Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Ministry of Environment and Forestry Hon. Mohamed Elmi urged Busia residents to protect nature through adoption of climate change adaptation measures.
“If we don’t sort nature, nature will sort us,” remarked CAS during the launch of the Adapting to Climate Change in Lake Victoria Basin Project in Busia County, Kenya, 3rd June 2021. Participants to the launch included, but not limited to representatives from the Kenya National Government, County Government of Busia, LVBC, project partners, students and local communities.
Officiating the project launch ceremony at Kenya Medical Training College, Teso Campus, Teso sub county, the Chief Administrative Mohamed Elmi witnessed planting of 3,000 seedlings out of 29, 000 seedlings. The remaining seedlings were distributed to different public institutions and local communities in order to increase the forest cover in the county which is currently below 2%. Tree planting forms part of key priorities for the National Government of Kenya.
“Busia County was picked to be one of the beneficiaries of this project because we saw it was not doing well in terms of ecosystem restoration and forested cover,” Mohamed Elmi. “We are experiencing flooding in the area because our lands have been left bare hence whenever it rains the surface runoff doesn’t percolate into the soil but instead flows into the lake with all the sediments which could have been trapped by the trees,” added the CAS.
He highlighted to the communities the importance of trees in addressing climate change-induced incidences among them the raising temperatures, surface runoff, sedimentation in the lake and rivers, and flooding.
Dr. Isaac Alukwe the County Executive Committee member (CECM) for Water Irrigation, Environment and Natural Resource from Busia County on behalf of the Governor thanked the LVBC and Ministry of Environment and Forestry for picking Busia County as one of the project sites to pilot the project. He expressed the commitment of County Government towards ensuring successful implementation of the project.
Dr Bwire the Regional project manager thanked the County Government of Busia and Ministry of Environment and Forestry for their commitment towards the implementation of the project and encouraged them to continue with the same spirit and ensure that the project objectives are achieved.
“The success of this pilot project will form the basis of us upscaling the project, so let us put all our efforts towards achieving the project objectives.” Argued Dr. Bwire.
All the speakers noted that planting trees is very easy and the challenge only comes in taking care of them. The students from KMTC were each challenged to adopt a tree to ensure that they all grow. They expressed their commitment to nurture and care for the trees. Adoption of trees by school going children acts as pathways to project sustainability.
The project is expected to be implemented in 3 Sub Counties of Busia County that is Teso Sub County, Nambale Sub County and Samia Sub County. Some of the project interventions will be drilling two solar powered boreholes in Teso Subcounty to caution them against water scarcity, Promoting Solar powered Hatchery in Nambale, Ecosystem Restoration in Teso and Samia, and Apiculture in Samia.
Also in attendance were the ACC-LVB Regional Project Manager from LVBC, Director of Kenya Forest Research Institution, Kenya Water Towers Agency, Busia County Government, Deputy County Commissioner Teso Sub County, Local authorities, local communities, civil society and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
The project is funded by Adaptation Fund through UNEP and it is regionally coordinated by Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) in 5 EAC partner states (Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda).