Kenya announces public holiday for tree planting

Kenya scaled

The government of Kenya has announced a “special holiday” will be celebrated on Monday November 13, dedicated to a nationwide tree planting initiative aimed at supporting the country’s land restoration efforts.

Kithure Kindiki, the cabinet secretary for the Interior and Administration of National Government in Kenya, disclosed the plans through a statement on X, declaring that citizens are encouraged to engage in tree planting as a patriotic contribution to the national fight against the adverse impacts of climate change.

November 13 was designated as National Tree Growing Day.

This initiative is part of Kenya’s Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration Programme, which targets the growth and nurturing of 15 billion trees by 2032 to rehabilitate 10.6 million hectares of degraded landscapes and ecosystems. The nationwide tree planting will be conducted at a central national venue and in 47 county venues, open for participation by all Kenyan citizens and the general public.

The country’s forest cover saw a decline from 12% to 6% between 1990 and 2010, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). However, it increased to 9% by 2022, as reported by the Kenya Forest Service. However, the escalating demand for timber and charcoal, driven by infrastructure needs and population growth, remains a contributing factor to the unsustainable depletion of forests. While Kenya depends less on biomass energy compared to neighbouring Tanzania and Uganda, wood still constitutes approximately 70% of the country’s energy requirements.

Deforestation and land degradation pose threats to critical ecosystems, leading to conflicts and a loss of biodiversity, especially in the face of heightened droughts due to climate change and inadequate water management. The Kenyan government aims to increase forest cover to 30% to better conserve biodiversity, support livelihoods and the environment, and bolster socio-economic development.

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