By Baraka Muli.
Kitui Governor Dr. Julius Malombe, EGH earlier today hosted the Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Okaniwa Ken and Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) officials for a courtesy call meeting in his office boardroom.
The meeting discussed, among other issues, areas of cooperation in matters of climate change and environmental conservation through research on new drought tolerant tree species.
Amb. Okaniwa said the Japanese Government has, through JICA, been supporting reforestation initiatives in Kitui through development of drought resilient tree varieties in conjunction with Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI).
“We are keen to introduce new and improved varieties of trees which are more resilient to the drier climate such as the melia volkensii which can be used for timber production besides improving the county’s tree cover,” he noted.
The envoy also said that Kitui was among some 20 counties which JICA plans to engage in adoption of the new approach so as to support farmers’ in making the right decisions regarding choice of best suited tree species besides market for tree products.
On his part, Governor Malombe commended the JICA for their continued support for climate change adaptation efforts in Kitui County and beyond.
“My administration is committed to upscale tree planting in every corner of this county in order to enhance Kitui’s forest cover thereby mitigating the adverse climate change effects which have over the years threatened water and food security,” he said.
The County Chief further welcomed JICA’s support towards success of his elaborate environmental conservation plan, adding that Kitui will at the frontline in supporting President William Ruto’s nationwide fifteen billion tree growing target.