The national and the Kilifi governments have been challenged to take the lead in creating carbon credit awareness for its citizens involved in Mangrove conservation.
Gro with Us founder Paul Flynn said proper and elaborated interventions of carbon credit awareness would improve the residents’ economy and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.
Addressing journalists after planting over 10,000 mangrove seedlings in Kidundu, Kilifi North constituency, Flynn said the initiative is possible because of the mangrove forest restoration and conservation efforts.
He said mangrove carbon harvesting facilitates a key bridge of trust between international communities.
“I want to urge both the national and the county government of Kilifi to commence championing the benefits of carbon credit because if done in the right way, it becomes a source of income to the community and also attracts international investors,” Flynn said.
He adds that the NGO is committed to working with the government and other partners in expanding the carbon market and carbon opportunities.
”If this initiative is embraced and done in good faith, kilifi will be generating thousands of carbon tonnes annually, thereby earning incomes and creating massive opportunities for connecting local people to the global community,” he said.
Mangrove forests are highly effective at carbon sequestration as most of the carbon is stored in the soil rather than in the plants.
Gro with Us Africa managing director Kelly Banda said the NGO’s objective is to restore mangroves in Kilifi county.
He said the project is in line with the sustainable development goals and President William Ruto’s vision 2030 agenda to increase forest cover by 10 per cent.
“We are doing this initiative in line with the government and trying to help the community in terms of livelihoods. We have engaged the community in beehive keeping and fishponds so that the economic status of the locals can change to better lives,” Band said.
The NGO has already planted more than 2.5 million mangrove seedlings in Kidundu and Watamu in Kilifi county.
Banda said the mangrove forest restoration and conservation project done by Gazi Bay, a community-based organization in Kwale county, is worth emulating.
Kilifi is among the coastal counties whose mangrove forests were endangered by illegal deforestation for timber and charcoal burning by local residents.
In 2018 the government imposed a ban on mangroves harvesting to fight environmental destruction, protect water catchment areas and mitigate effects of drought across the country.
However, it was lifted in Lamu county in 2019 after the government considered the plight of the local communities who largely depended on mangrove for their livelihoods.
In the Coast region, mangroves are found in Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale, Tana River and Lamu along the Indian Ocean.
The total area covered by mangrove trees in the country is estimated at 61,270 hectares, with Lamu county having the biggest area.
Mtongani -Kidundu Self Help group chairman Stephen Chivatsi said the illegal logging of mangrove will not be a major threat if the residents are taught the benefits of carbon credit making.
He also urged the government to set aside additional budget and develop better policies that will enhance mangrove conservation and empower local communities.