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Kenya Breweries Limited commits Sh8m for the restoration of Mt. Kenya and Aberdare forests

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Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) in collaboration with Nature Kenya and Kenya Forest Service has committed Ksh.8 million towards the restoration of Mt. Kenya and Aberdares forests as part of its environmental conservation efforts through the brewer’s staff-driven initiative, Kijani, that aims to plant over 100,000 trees in the next two years.

The initiative which begun last year April saw the firm plant trees on 250 acres of Mt. Kenya Forest starting with the area around Naro Moru.

KBL will engage Community Forest Associations (CFA’s) namely; Hombe, Kabaru, Naro Moru, Gathiuru, Ngare- Ndare, Kieni, and Wanjerere, which have over 1,200 members each. Nature Kenya will also monitor the trees for a period of two years to ensure maximum survival.

Speaking during the cheque handover event, EABL Group Corporate Director Eric Kiniti said that reducing environmental impact is important for KBL as a business and is entrenched in their sustainability agenda.

“Environmental conservation is at the core of our business and is one of our key sustainability pillars. When we neglect our ecosystems, we not only destroy habitats for our wild and domestics animals, we make it harder for communities and businesses to operate. We, therefore, have to be more deliberate with our conservation and rehabilitation efforts”, said Mr. Kiniti

“This is the second time that we are participating in the rehabilitation of the Mt. Kenya Forest. In partnership with nature Kenya, we have been able to restore 100 ha of the forest by planting 100,000 indigenous trees between 2017 and 2018. We have planted 67,000 trees in Hombe forest block, 23,000 at Kabaru forest block, 2,000 at Naromoru forest and 8,000 at Gathiuru forest” he added.

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So far, KBL has planted and nurtured over one million tree seedlings, whose success rate is 85% success rate.

Kenya Forest Service Chief Conservator of Forests, Julius Kamau, said that water towers across the country have been undergoing serious degradation and called on Kenyans to support the restoration of water catchments such as Mt Kenya Forest and Aberdare Forests.

“Taking action to restore Mt. Kenya and Aberdare is not a choice but an obligation. They provide fresh drinking water to over 2 million people. Over 70% of Kenya’s electricity is from hydropower, half of it generated from Tana River, which originates from these water towers. In essence, Mt. Kenya and Aberdare are a crucial source for drinking water, food, electricity and jobs for millions of Kenyans,” said Mr Kamau.

“Urgent action is needed. Down-stream water users including businesses, hydropower producers, crop farmers, and water transfer companies need to provide incentives for upstream stakeholders and forest protectors to halt forest loss, restore degraded areas and promote sustainable land management and production. We commend company’s such as KBL that are actively involved in the restoration of water catchment areas” he added.

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Nature Kenya executive director Dr Paul Matiku said KBL’s support had demonstrated that it was possible for businesses to catalyze forest restoration.Dr. Matiku urged other corporates to follow KBL’s lead and make strategic commitments.

Kenya Forest Service also presented KBL with a certificate for completing the first phase of the Mt. Kenya Forest restoration project where they planted 100,000 trees, recognizing the project’s contribution to environmental conservation.

Data released by Global Forest Watch in 2017 indicates that the world has lost over 400,000 square kilometres of forest cover. The15 per cent increase in carbon emissions recorded in 2017 has been also been linked to the high rate of deforestation.

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In Kenya, the forest cover stands at 7percent, with the government seeking to double this by planting over 1 million trees by 2022.

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