A collaboration involving biopharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca, and Global EverGreening Alliance intends to restore degraded agricultural and forest lands through the planting of 120,000 trees in Kenya.
The reforestation initiative, which aligns with AstraZeneca’s Global sustainability commitment to environmental protection, is being undertaken in Kajiado County in the East African nation.
AstraZeneca says it recognises the strong connection between a healthy planet and healthy people, and is committed to nurturing environments in which all life can thrive. It adds that trees are a nature-based answer for eliminating CO2 and are fundamental to moderating the impacts of environmental change.
This week the Governor of Kajiado County, Joseph Ole Lenku; Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Environment, Dr. Chris K. Kiptoo; MP for Kajiado West, George Sunkuiya; and Chairman of the Kenya Forest Service, Mr Peter Kinyua, met with Senior Fellow at Global EverGreening Alliance (GEA) – Kenya Chapter, Dr Kenneth Namunje; AstraZeneca’s Country President for African Cluster (South Africa, Sub Saharan Africa and French Speaking Africa), Barbara Nel; and AstraZeneca Government Affairs Director SSA, Dr Kennedy Njau, to plant the first of 120,000 trees in Kenya’s Kajiado County.
The initiative reportedly aligns to AstraZeneca’s global AZ Forest programme, announced at the World Economic Forum in January, which pledged to plant 50 million trees by 2025 in partnership with non-profit global partners One Tree Planted and Global EverGreening Alliance.
The initiative in Kajiado County, it was gathered, will harness local knowledge and provide economic opportunities for smallholder farmers and rural communities through contracted works such as seed collection, planting and long-term stewardship.
The project has engaged approximately 100 smallholder farmers to establish nurseries in Kajiado County to nurture the seedings; up to 150 indigenous and non-indigenous business sub-contractors; local seed suppliers and nurseries.
Barbara Nel, AstraZeneca Country President for African Cluster, said: “The devastating impacts of drought and wildfires across the globe are a powerful reminder of the impact that the changing climate has on our planet. This is why we are doing our part to help with the reforestation of Kenya.
“Our AZ Forest programme in Kenya, in partnership the Global EverGreening Alliance and in collaboration with government, is our commitment to support both a healthy environment and improve socioeconomic development and livelihoods for Kenyans in Kajiado County.”
Dr Kenneth Namunje, Senior Fellow at Global EverGreening Alliance (GEA) – Kenya Chapter, said: “Global EverGreening Alliance Kenya (GEA), an NGO domiciled in Australia, and our partners continue to impact livelihoods through restoration of farmlands, rangelands and forestlands. We take this opportunity to thank AstraZeneca for sponsoring planting of 120,000 Gliricidia Sepium trees in a three-year programme in Kajiado County and we look forward to more collaboration in the future.
“The Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment and Forestry and Kenya Forest Service have supported the project. Zero Two Heros and Green Pasture Network will also collaborate with GEA as community-based implementation partners.”