The Government of Kenya has a goal to achieve 10% forest cover by December 2022. This
requires that Kenya plants about 2 billion trees between 2018 and 2022. While the jury is still
out on whether this target shall be met, KENAFF is keenly aware that the only pathway to
achieve and exceed this target and, indeed, protect Kenya’s natural capital runs through
farmers. To wit, it’ll be impossible to achieve the government target if the country relies just on
gazetted public forests under the management of the Kenya Forest Service (KFS).


To this end, KENAFF has made the decision to support the government in achieving and
exceeding the target over the next ten years and in perpetuity. The federation shall deploy her
elaborate grassroots to national structure (ward to Sub-County to County and to national) in
forty-four (44 counties) to establish a framework through which to conduct KENAFF National
Tree Planting Weeks twice every year: first week in April for the March, April and May (MAM)
rainfall season and second week in October for the October, November and December (OND)
rainfall season.


KENAFF has made the decision to do this not only as a sacrosanct national duty but also in
recognition of the fact that the existential threat posed by climate change is borne mostly and
directly by farmers. It is farmers who suffer the most as a result of unpredictable rainfall
patterns, droughts, floods, poor soils, pest infestations (like the ongoing desert locust invasion)
and the depletion of vegetation cover. Indeed, as our country’s economy is dependent on
agriculture and shall be for the foreseeable future; it is critical for every Kenyan to be
concerned with the welfare and sustainability of our common heritage—our country’s soils,
vegetation cover, water towers and air quality.


We cannot talk about the benefits of a healthy ecosystem without talking about trees: trees
help improve the integrity and quality of soil, water and the air and contribute to the
hydrological cycle. Trees are also a source of food, fodder and medicine, building and
construction materials, beauty and recreation as well as fuel. Indeed, the tree value chain has
profound potential for wealth creation. KENAFF is keen to work with farmers to leverage this
opportunity where farmers grow and nurture trees the way they grow and nurture other crops
or keep livestock. The importance of trees in human wellness has been exemplified as more
people seek out nature for healing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The April 2021
KENAFF National Tree Planting theme (Planting and Nurturing Trees for Recovery, Restoration,
Health and Wealth) captures the phenomenal essence of trees in our lives.


KENAFF is cognizant of the herculean task we seek to undertake—working with all Kenyan
farmers to plant 50 billion trees over ten years (2021—2030). Be that as it may, the federation
is also certain that such an initiative requires every hand on deck: in the coming months and
years, KENAFF shall mobilize and organize all the farmers of Kenya (who form the majority of
our country’s population) to become proactive in the pursuit of this lofty national goal—50
billion trees in ten years. KENAFF shall also count on the support, collaboration and partnership
of the national and county governments.


We shall endeavour to build a multi-actor platform bringing together farmers, national and
county governments, membership organizations [including the Kenya private Sector Alliance
(KEPSA), Agriculture Sector Network (ASNET), Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and
Industry (KNCCI), Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM),
Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union
(KMPDU), Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU), etcetera], religious and other civil
organizations, international development partners as well as Missions and Embassies
represented in Kenya.


This national tree planting exercise provides us with an exceptional opportunity to heal our
country and contribute to building back better as we prepare for a new normal with Covid-19.
As the farmers of this country, we’re also proud to continue the legacy of our compatriot and
Nobel Peace Laureate, the late Prof. Wangari Maathai who said “when we plant trees, we plant
the seeds of peace and hope and secure the future of our children”. We owe this to a better
Kenya and for posterity.

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