Forests International Day Initiates Shamba System Actuality

As the world marked Forests International day, the Kenyan farmers’ communities living by the forests were reprieved by the assurance that they would be allowed to cultivate in the forests. A move that was fronted earlier by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua even though received numerous criticism from citizens on the issue of the shamba system.

Although the Forestry Principal Secretary Ephantus Kimotho emphasized that the major forests that have so far grown were a result of protection and being taken care of by the communities around them. This comes after the community complains that the KFS move to stop them from planting maize crops in plots allocated to them for denying trees planted sunlight, was a strategy to chase them away silently.

The PS this Tuesday remarked on the issue saying that the government cannot underrate the impact of the Kenya Forest Service program known as Plantation Establishment and Livelihoods Systems (Pelis) owing to the role it has played in tree-growing activities in the forests.

In early 2000, the KFS decided to replace the Shamba System with Pelis so that they can follow up on trees planted so as to ensure the growth of all trees planted. Thus ensuring that as much as the community benefitted from the farming, the forests in turn thrived more.

“We cannot underrate the role the Pelis has played. We know it has helped in reforestation, protection, and conservation of forests” he said.

Additionally, Kireita Community Forest Association chairman David Waweru told Kimotho that locals had started cultivating in the forests since they relied on maize crops to feed their cattle. This point was seconded by Lari MP Mburu Kahangara who asked the government to reconsider the directive since it was killing the morale of the community in forest activities including conservation.

“The community is angry with the KFS’s decision to abolish maize crop farming in the forests. Despite the fact that their maize crops are destroyed by elephants, they harvest them early to feed their livestock, so for sure even for maize to mature for them to eat is hard and has been hard,” said MP Mburu.

As the Ministry marked the world Forests International day at Kireita forest in Lari constituency in Kiambu county, the leaders called for better means of ensuring civilian protection as well as forest protection.

Urging for the embrace of measures like the fencing of the whole forest since it hosts wild animals adding that elephants invade them and destroys food crops not only in their forest farms but also in the villages.

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