Govt Issues New Directives on Lucrative Baobab Tree Export
The government has made an about-turn on the export of the controversial baobab trees from Kilifi to Shekvetili Dendrological Park Ltd in Ureki in Georgia, United States.
In a directive issued by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) on January 30, the government approved the uprooting of baobab trees in Kilifi County for export indicating that the tree is neither an endangered species nor protected in Kenya.
“KFS issued you with authority to export the eight baobab trees dated November 1, 2022, which was subsequently revoked vide letter dated November 22, 2022.
Environment and Forestry CS Soipan Tuya appears before the National Assembly Committee on appointments on October 19, 2022.
“Following instructions from CS Environment, the revocation of the export permit is hereby lifted,” Chief Conservator Julius Kamau indicated in the approval letter.
Kamau’s approval of the controversial tree’s export followed instructions from Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya dated January 18.
According to KFS, only endangered trees under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species were protected in Kenya but the baobab tree was excluded.
The baobab tree, on the other hand, is also not on any Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) appendices.
An ‘abnormal load notice’ issued by the company charged with the transportation of the lucrative tree seen by Kenyans.co.ke indicated that the transport and logistics process commenced on Wednesday, February 15.
The movement is expected to end on June 30 this year with the Kilifi-Mtondia-Majaoni-Tezo-Bofa Beach Road-Kilifi route being affected.
“All road users on the affected routes are advised to exercise caution when in the vicinity of this abnormal cargo,” the notice read in part.
Kenyans.co.ke unsuccessfully tried reaching out to the Chief Conservator Julius Kamau for a comment.
However, a source at the transport and logistics company charged with the transportation of the tree who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that the company had issued the ‘abnormal load notice.’
The uprooting of the baobab tree late last year caused a lot of uproar among different stakeholders in Kenya including conservationists.
President William Ruto responded to the uproar by issuing directives to the Ministry of Environment to ensure that the process did not infringe on any law.
“I have instructed the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to look into the ongoing uprooting of Baobab trees in Kilifi County to ensure that it sits within the Convention on Biodiversity and the Nagoya Protocol,” Ruto stated then.
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