Nakuru County Governor Lee Kinyanjui today acompanied Environment CS Keriako Tobiko on an extensive, day-long tour of Eburu Forest.
The CS commissioned a 43-kilometre electric fence around the forest to prevent human-wildlife conflict and encroachment.
They then toured an Ogiek homestead, beekeeping sites and a forest enrichment site where they planted trees. They later launched the Mau Eburu Forest visitors’ guide.
The CS commended the Governor for his commitment towards conservation of the environment.
He also announced that plans to ban cedar trees in forests are at advanced stages in a move aimed at conserving forests. Cedar, he said, is commonly used as fencing poles.
Governor Kinyanjui commended all the partners for restoring the forest.
“We are concerned about deforestation as it ends up affecting locals when rivers dry up. We urge the Environment Ministry to engage the community on issues that target rehabilitation of forests so that they “own” the project,” he said.
He said the County Government of Nakuru has identified Eburu as one of the areas for pyrethrum and avocado growing and that seedlings will soon be distributed to local farmers.
“We will also promote Eburu as an eco-tourism site to encourage those visiting Naivasha, where we have a robust hotel industry, and other domestic and foreign tourists to come camping or hiking,” he said.
He said the County Government will improve the road network to ease accessibility and work with security agencies to ensure safety of visitors.
Cooperative officials from the County will also visit the area to help locals form saccos, that will help members access financing to improve products such as milk and honey.
He emphasized the need to help the youth to come up with organised projects that can provide self-employment an example being them becoming tour guides who can take visitors around the Eburu Forest explaining indigenous trees and also to different sites.
He said the County is working on engaging hotels in Naivasha to consider purchasing farm produce from neighbouring farms, including Eburu to improve the living standards of the community.
“The County Government of Nakuru will also assist tree nurseries run by locals in Eburu. We will liaise with KFS to buy at least 114,000 seedlings from one of the nurseries we visited, to be distributed in our tree-planting campaigns in the County,” he said.
The County will soon form a committee to look into land issues so that locals can be issued with title deeds.
M-PESA Foundation donated Sh30million towards the maintenance of the electric fence.
Also present at the event was M-PESA Foundation Executive Director Les Baillie, Rhino Ark CEO Christian Lamborex officials, KFS Board Chairman Peter Kinyua, Nakuru CECM for Environment Eng Festus Ngeno and MCAs Samuel Kariuki (Eburu/Mbaruk) and Gathareki Kamanu (Maela).