Siaya, Kenya: Breaking the Barriers of Tree Farming

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Siaya County, located in Kenya’s Nyanza region, is renowned for its historical and political significance, rich cultural heritage, and stunning natural landscapes. The county has a tropical climate characterized by two rainy seasons: the long rains from March to June and the short rains from October to November. Annual rainfall averages between 1,200 to 1,800 mm, supporting lush vegetation and making the region ideal for crop farming.

Temperatures in Siaya County remain relatively consistent throughout the year, with average highs ranging from 26°C to 31°C. The area has high humidity levels, particularly during the rainy seasons. These climatic conditions benefit crop farming, as well as presenting a promising opportunity for increasing the county’s tree cover.

In colonial times, one notable figure who promoted tree growing in Siaya County was Chief Odera Akang’o. A respected community leader, Chief Akang’o advocated for the planting of trees to address environmental degradation and improve soil fertility in the region. He encouraged the residents of Siaya to plant trees for shade, fuel wood, and to prevent soil erosion. Chief Akang’o’s efforts strived to achieve sustainable land use practices and protect the environment for future generations.

Despite its favorable climate, and the efforts of Chief Akang’o, Siaya County has a low forest cover, ranking last among Kenya’s 47 counties at 0.23%. It is only ahead of three other counties in terms of forest cover, ranking 44th at 5.23%. Given the increasing need to address climate change, the county’s favorable climate must be taken as a significant opportunity to restore forests and increase tree cover in Siaya County.

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