ELDORET, Kenya May 14 – Uasin Gishu county government has rolled out a programme to plant fruit trees in schools as part of the county’s effort to increase its forest cover. Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno said they have selected over 60 schools where they would pilot the school afruitation project. The Deputy Governor said apart from providing tree cover, fruits were also good as a source of vitamin c for the growth of children. Uasin Gishu County being an agricultural county is facing challenges in crop production due to the effects of climate change that have led to a reduction in rains compared to previous years hence the urgency to increase forest cover, said the DG. Speaking at Kapseret forest during a tree planting exercise organized by the National Construction Authority (NCA), Chemno said rains in the county were no longer predictable and most of the farmers were contemplating abandoning maize farming which was no longer profitable. “A few years ago, at a time like this month, farmers would be weeding their maize crop farms but the rains are nowhere to be seen,” observed Chemno. The DG who had earlier hosted the NCA official in a discussion focusing on Climate Change mitigation in Uasin Gishu County with the theme ‘Forest for Sustainable production and consumption’ reiterated the County government’s commitment to environmental conservation by urging residents to prioritize tree planting in their farms. The county executive committee member in charge of Water and Environment Ms. Mary Njogu said the county government has in collaboration with the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) championed the planting of more than 30 million tree seedlings across the county this season. NCA Board vice-chair Ms. Mercy Okiro said the Construction Authority was one of the largest contributors to deforestation due to approving constructions that traverse forested areas that is why tree planting was key to their agenda. During the tress planting exercise, NCA, KFS, and other stakeholders planted 1000 tree seedlings at Kapseret Forest. Kapseret Deputy County Commissioner David Wambua said they intended to divide cleared forest areas where communities have been allowed to farm under the PELIS programme into small plots where trees would be planted and farmers encouraged to tend to them in order to return the county’s forest cover to the recommended 10 per cent. Wambua said they were targeting to plant over 20,000 tree seedlings in Kapseret forest during the current rains.