AGRICULTURE CS VISITS NEW MAU BUFFER ESTABLISHMENTS
By NTZDC Corporate Communications Officer
Nyayo Tea Zones Development Corporation ushered in the 2017 Easter celebrations in style by playing host to Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Willy Bett. The Cabinet Secretary visited the Corporation's new buffer establishments at Olposimoru and Kuresoi in South East Mau on 13th April, 2017 accompanied by NTZDC Board Chairman Mr. Mathew Iteere and Managing Director, Mr. Peter Korir. The CS and his entourage used a KFS chopper in the tour of the expansive buffer zone established by the Corporation from 2015 following a Presidential Directive to protect the Mau forest using the buffer concept.
The Cabinet Secretary, Board Chairman and Managing Director first landed at the Olposimoru establishment in Narok County where they were recieved by the Buffer Project Manager Mr. Sammy Murithi and West of Rift Regional Manager Richard Mwongera, while Project Site Manager Elvis N'geno received them at the Kuresoi buffer site. The Board Chairman and MD took the CS through the buffer belt at the two sites where he appreciated the immense amount of work done to actualize the establishment including raising millions of tea seedlings, site clearing, land preparation and planting.
Speaking at the event, the Cabinet Secretary commended the Corporation's management for moving with speed to implement the massive conservation project around Mau forest despite the great challenge of inadequate resources. The CS promised to ensure that the buffer project is completed as planned by increasing the budgetary allocation from his Ministry. He noted that there was need to accelerate tea planting to stretch the buffer during the ongoing rain season in order to maximize on resources and output during the planting window. The CS, who planted a tree to commemorate his visit, reiterated that conservation of Mau forest was a major priority of the government since the Mau ecosystem supports millions of livelihoods in Kenya and the East African region. The CS thanked NTZDC for playing a leading role in implementing what is now considered a lasting solution to the perennial problem of forest encroachment and evictions along the forest borders in South west Mau. Noting that the Corporation will put up tea processing factories, upgrade road networks as well as other infrastructure to support the new buffer, the CS urged local residents to take advantage of the new developments and enroll their children to schools to increase their chances of employment beyond casual engagement when the opportunities arise. Mr. Bett thanked the local communities and their leaders for supporting the project since its inception, noting that everyone in the country and beyond stands to benefit immensely with successful protection of the vital water tower.
Addressing the event, Board Chairman Mathew Iteere thanked the government for extending its support to the Corporation in implementing the buffer project. He assured the Cabinet Secretary of prudent utilization of resources availed. The Board Chairman also thanked NTZDC Management for accelerating the project whose, noting that the impressive results of the upcoming buffer were clearly visible. Managing Director Peter Korir thanked the Cabinet Secretary for creating time to visit the biuffer project. The MD recognized the great moral and financial support to the project by the Ministry, adding that the Corporation was keen on completing the buffer in Mau and commence the other buffer in Embobut forest. MD and Chairman also thanked the local communities for support to the project, and assured them of many benefits including Corporate Social responsibility projects to support their welfare e.g. education and health.