Prof. Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources accompanied by Lamu County Governor H.E. Issa Timamy, Principal Secretary for Public Works Mariam El Maawy (representing PS, State Department of Natural Resources, Dr. Margaret Mwakima) officially opened KEFRI lamu Sub – centre on 16th June, 2017. The facility located at Mokowe in Lamu County comprises of a farmer’s resource centre with 14 self-contained rooms, administrative block, research wing with modern laboratory and tree nursery. The sub-centre is funded by both the national government and the World Bank through Kenya Coastal Development Project (KCDP).
Speaking during the launch Prof. Wakhungu said the sub-center will be focal in identifying existing opportunities and research on better ways of enhancing forestry development and land use systems for improved land productivity, environment management and sustainable utilization of resources by the local communities in Lamu and Tana River counties.
“It is expected the sub-centre will provide appropriate technologies and outreach services in addition to environmental leadership targeting mega projects including the LAPSSET, coal power production and other major development projects in the region,” Prof. Wakhungu said.
The PS for Public Works Engineer Miriam El Maawy in a statement read on behalf of the PS for state department of natural resources Dr. Margartet Mwakima noted that in the advent of climate change and concerns of gender, equity and fairness, KEFRI research has focused on developing various technologies and approaches to harness conservation, management and utilization of natural resources, payment of environmental services, carbon sequestration, value addition and marketing to wood and non-wood forest products such as Aloes, honey and fruits for socio-economic valuation and livelihood improvement.
“The state department of natural resources has supported KEFRI in building the capacity of scientists and construction of modern research facilities in Kilifi, Lamu and Taita Taveta Counties in that order to expand service delivery to wider areas of the coast region,” said El Maawy. “The Centre is one of the magnificent facilities to have been constructed in the Lamu mainland and within the shortest time,” said El Maaawy.
KEFRI Lamu Research and Farmers Resources Centre will therefore be instrumental in identifying key research and development gaps; promoting forestry management strategies and related resources; building collaborative framework with key partners and communities for effective service delivery in the coast counties.
The Speaker for the Lamu County Assembly Mr. Mohammed Rashid on behalf Governor Issa Timamy congratulated KEFRI for the devolved service which he believes will create and prioritize employment to the residences. During the event Prof. Wakhungu launched three Key booklets namely; Coast Eco-region Forestry Research Programme, Capability map for growing high value tree species in the coast region of Kenya, and Field guide to vulnerable trees and shrubs of Kaya Mudzi Muvya forests in Kilifi county.
At the same time KEFRI staff from Gede and Karura exhibited products that included; tree seeds, mangrove, bamboo products and herbal products by Ufanisi community group in coast region