Community Forest Associations Challenged To Explore Ways To Benefit From Forests

Community Forests Associations (CFAs) have been urged to explore various ways of creating income generating activities from forests even as they continued with their conservation roles. Speaking during the launch of Participatory Forest Management Plans (PFMP) and signing of Forest Management Agreement (FMA) for Ruthumbi, Nyambene and Ngaya Forests at Ruthumbi forest station, Deputy Chief Conservator Ms Beatrice Mbula said there were various opportunities that the associations could use to get money through conservation of forests. 'I am happy that the PFMP has been reviewed to ensure that conservators will not remain poor while doing conservation but have it with livelihood improvement. 'There are various avenues at our disposal ranging from seedling production, bee keeping, fish farming among others that can be carried out in line with the conservation activities,' said Ms Mbul a. She said this was the essence of forming CFAs and the expectations were that they would be the drivers of development in their respective villages. 'Let the benefits of conservation get to the common people and this is possible since there is a lot of wealth in the forest. We can even think of ways of enhancing ecotourism, which currently brings a lot of money to our country,' said Ms Mbula. Ms Mbula added that the signing of FMA would allow CFA members to get into the forest adding that the document has 18 rights that they would enjoy during their conservation process. He urged the members to observe their obligations to the letter in order to prevent any conflict with the government. 'On our side, we will do everything possible to support you and stick to our obligations and this is also what we expect from you,' said Ms Mbula. The government has made considerations that issues of management of the natural resources must involve the common person unlike in the past where each party worked solely. 'Planning has been brought to the ground where people will decide where they want to go in future as they are the vision holders,' she noted. 'I am happy to see that the CFAs from Meru County have embraced participation and you are very active. When management is done in unison it will always be very successful,' said Ms Mbula. She called on all the CFAs to observe their set bylaws in order to avoid any conflicts that might divide them and drive them away from the main cause; conservation. Source: Kenya News Agency