KENYA Water Towers Agency has recovered more than 24,000 hectares of land in Mau Forest since the evictions began in 2009.
Chief coordinator Hassan Noor said the agency is determined to rehabilitate the country’s largest water tower because its ecosystem has socio-economic benefits for the local community, country and East Africa.
“We have recovered 19,000 hectares in Southern Western Mau by persuading the squatters to move out. The government has set aside Sh1 billion to secure alternative land to settle those evicted from parts of Mau Forest,” he said. He said some land owners have surrendered 1,250 hectares in Mau Forest.
Noor said 50,000 hectares of the forest has been adopted by various conservation organisations for restoration, adding that “many more are interested in adopting and restoring the forest”. He said 16,000 hectares have been rehabilitated through various initiatives and the agency plans to give some parts of the forest land to the Kenneth Marende Foundation to adopt to rehabilitate.
Noor said the agency is set to start a campaign to conserve the country’s water towers. European Union delegation head of social and environment section Daniel Plas said the EU and the Royal Danish government have set aside Sh2 billion for the conservation of Kenya’s water towers and other ecosystems.
Noor said the ‘big fish’ who own land in Mau have not been spared and the law will equally apply to every citizen who has encroached on the forest. “We will not spare anybody when evictions resume,” Noor said. Despite this importance, the Mau, like most other forests in Kenya, has faced massive excision and degradation over the last 40 years.
He however noted that the major challenge the in playing their role is the issue of resource mobilization towards the noble exercise. “There’s a high resource demand in the country by many sectors but I thank the partners who have enabled the exercise to be successful,” said Noor.
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