President William Ruto has granted approval for factories affiliated with the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) to engage in tree cultivation within protected areas managed by the Kenya Forestry Service (KFS).

The directive was issued by President Ruto during a meeting with KTDA tea factory chairmen and directors at State House, Nairobi, on Tuesday, May 14.

Responding to KTDA’s expressed interest in supporting his climate change agenda, President Ruto acknowledged the importance of collaboration in promoting environmental sustainability.

“You want to work with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to see whether you can participate in growing trees in a manner that is mutually beneficial,” Ruto stated in reference to KTDA’s proposal to plant trees on government forest lands.

Following consultations with Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya, President Ruto confirmed the feasibility of KTDA’s request. The initiative, aimed at enhancing afforestation efforts and mitigating the impacts of climate change, is set to be formalized through a framework agreement between KTDA and KFS.

“I will now ask you and your management to sit with the management of KFS so that you can sign a framework agreement on how you are going to participate in our tree-growing endeavor,” President Ruto directed, emphasizing the importance of ensuring mutual benefits for both KTDA and the government in commercial tree harvesting activities.

KTDA, a key player in Kenya’s tea industry owned by smallholder farmers, is poised to contribute significantly to the country’s tree-planting initiatives, further solidifying its commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable practices.