On September 2019, the Board of Directors of Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) approved aerial seeding of 10,000 Ha of degraded forestland on a pilot basis. The 10,000 Ha are distributed across four forest ecosystems, namely Maasai Mau Forest (3,500 Ha), Eburru Forest (500 Ha), Aberdare Forest (2,500 Ha) and Mt. Kenya Forest (3,500 Ha).
KEFRI spearheaded aerial seeding of the reclaimed section of Maasai Mau Forest between 1st and 6th November 2019, broadcasting a total of 15 indigenous tree species amounting to 3,624 kg of certified seeds over 3,600 Ha. The success of the exercise was monumental and it attracted both local and international attention, prompting several corporates and agencies to call KEFRI requesting for more details on the technology on its applicability in fast-tracking the restoration of Africa and Kenya’s vast degraded areas.
KEFRI is in discussion with a number of corporate companies for collaboration in aerial seeding of other degraded forestlands and landscapes in the country. Because the country is way short of the restoration targets, it is projected that application of aerial seeding technology will dominate Kenya’s forestry restoration agenda over the next couple of years, and contribution of private sector is expected to grow.
KEFRI's Central Highlands Eco-Region Research Programme (CHERP) Regional Director Dr. Eston Mutitu rolled out the Presidential ‘Cleaning Up Kenya Campaign’, an initiative meant to enhance environmental restoration, conservation and management countrywide
He led KEFRI staff together with the sub-county officials, ward administrators, business fraternity and local communities in carrying out a cleanup exercise along Nderi - Zambezi Road, on 30th October, 2020. “As part of our corporate social responsibility, we plan to plant trees along the Zambezi - KARI road, adopt three roundabouts - Thogoto, Gitaru and Kiambaa for beautification and regeneration of the environment,” said Dr. Mutitu. Likewise, Drylands Eco-region Research Programme (DERP) staff undertook a clean-up exercise along the JICA road, in Kitui. The activity involved sweeping, slashing and collecting debris and waste. Coast Eco-region Research Programme (CERP) staff in collaboration with KWS and Friends of Arabuko Sokoke Forest marked the 2nd phase of Kenya Safi Clean-up campaign on 27th November, 2020 at Arabuko Sokoke Forest in Gede. Speaking during the event, CERP Deputy Regional Director, Dr. Stanley Nadir stated that the aim of the exercise is to create awareness on cleanliness and other environmentally acceptable management strategies including waste disposal.
The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forestry Mr. Keriako Tobiko signed Performance Contracts (PC) for 2020/2021 Financial Year with State Corporations under his Ministry. He was accompanied by the Cabinet Administrative Secretary Hon. Mohammed Elmi and Principal Secretary Dr. Chris Kiptoo.
The Chairman, KEFRI Board of Directors Dr. Sammy Letema, Mr. Kevin Kihara, Dr. Ali Mohammed, Senior Deputy Director, Research and Development Dr. Jane Njuguna and the Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs and Quality Assurance Dr. Jackson Mulatya represented KEFRI during the signing ceremony on 9th December, 2020. The CS urged the State Corporation Chairmen to ensure that PC activities are accomplished. He further tasked CEO's to improve on performance and ensure quarterly meetings are held to identify gaps, challenges and areas of improvement. He called for teamwork in undertaking PC activities as they are alighned to the Ministry's performance.
Acacia Export Proccessing Zone, held a workshop on strategies of unlocking Gums Arabic potential in Kenya’s ASALs counties on October 6th, 2020, at KEFRI Headquarters.
According to Acacia Export Processing Zone (CEO Mr. Sam Nyamboga, the company is currently exporting 15 tonnes of high quality Acacia gum whose parameters are analysed by KEFRI experts.
"However, securing the source of Gum Arabic and value addition are two key prospects for future undertakings," said Nyamboga.
KEFRI Director Dr. Cheboiwo stated that the Institute holds substantial data which can help interested parties and partners in the development of Acacia gum in the country.
The plenary discussion focused on strategies to improve sector - identification of potential partners and areas of synergy.
The 3-day workshop drew participants from AgriFI Kenya Challenge Fund, MoE&F, KEFRI, KFS, KEPHIS, KEBS, KEPSA, KOAN, Soil Association, KETROBA and Agriculture Technical Service among others.
Dr. Sammy Letema, KEFRI Board of Directors Chairman while addressing the Retirement Benefit Scheme Annual General Meeting on 8th October 2020, stated that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has negatively affected pensioners both in private and public sectors, KEFRI Pension Scheme has sustainably remitted staff contributions to Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA).
Dr. Letema also urged staff to embrace Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC) to improve their pension scheme.
“KEFRI Pension performance has been steady with contribution being remitted on time and Ksh. 224 million was paid to staff who retired in the fiscal year that ended June 2020,” said Dr. Letema. The Chairman further stated that the Board is focused on ensuring smooth transition of staff from public service to retirement, implementation of succession plan, the proposed Post-Retirement Medical Fund, and investment in modern systems to strengthen efficiency of the secretariat. The Chairman Board of Trustees, Mr. Paul Tuwei in his statement reported that despite ravages of COVID-19 pandemic, the scheme assets as per the year under review was KSh 279 billion compared to KES 264 billion last year, an increase attributed to Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC). The Scheme recorded a net investment income of Kes.212 million in a similar period and a remittance of a total Kes.191 million being both the employee and the employer’s contributions,” said Mr. Tuwei.
In addition, he informed staff that the thirteenyear Strategic Plan (2017-2030) enacted in 2017 was at the end of stabilization phase, however the high rate of staff retirement may have financial implications in future.
According to the AGM Report the last financial year membership dropped to 759 from 810 due to retirement among other natural attritions. Mr. Tuwei whose term in office is ending, advised staff against using lump sum pension proceeds for development urging them to engage in ventures that have sustainable returns.
KEFRI Board of Trustees also attended the AGM together with Service Providers; Scheme Administrators (Minet Kenya Financial Services), Fund Managers, (Sanlam Investment East Africa), Scheme Custodians (Standard Chartered Bank), Independent Auditor (Kamau and Company Ltd), Certified Public Accountants Kenya, and Absa Bank formerly Barclays Bank, Retirement Benefits Authority-(RBA) and the Regulator.