3 things Kenya can learn from Ethiopia’s 350m trees planting exercise

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On Monday, Ethiopia hit a new world record by planting 353,633,660 tree seedlings in just 12 hours.

This put them ahead of India which had set a world record in 2016 by planting 50 million tree seedlings in 12 hours according to the Guinness World Records.

Here are measures that Ethiopia took that Kenya could possibly borrow a leaf from:

  1. National Planting Day

On Monday most schools and government offices were locked so that everyone can focus on the tree-planting exercise.

Therefore students, farmers, urban professionals, foreign dignitaries, environmentalists and government officials all took part in the one-day planting exercise.

Though their target was planting 200 million seedlings, they ended up exceeding that target.

2. A National Initiative

The Monday tree planting exercise was part of an initiative that the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, rolled out dubbed ‘green legacy’. This initiative’s aim is to plant 4 billion tree seedlings by October this year.

3. Impact of deforestation

During the 19th century, Ethiopia’s forest cover was about 30 per cent but by 2000 that number had reduced to 4 per cent.

The drop was caused by the increase in population which is currently about 105 million. This has resulted to deforestation. The ripple effects of this are drought and flooding.

Current state in Kenya

Kenya’s current forest cover is about seven per cent. However, the United Nations recommends 10 per cent. The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) on the other hand has set a 15 per cent target to be attained by 2022.

According to the NEMA Director General, Prof Geoffrey Wahungu, to realise that goal, all 47 counties need to plant about one million tree seedlings every year. This will ensure 235 million tree seedlings are planted by 2022.

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