Coca-Cola Beverages Africa–Kenya (CCBA-K), in partnership with Nature Kenya, will be planting 90 000 tree seedlings in Mt Kenya’s Hombe Forest in a three-year reforestation partnership to preserve Kenya’s catchment areas, in pursuance of their Mount Kenya Reforestation commitment.
So far this year, 1,900 people have benefited from the project through the sale of 15 000 seedlings that have been planted in Phase 1, with the next phase set to begin in December.
CCBA-K supported Hombe Community Forest Association (CFA) members to plant the 15 000 trees in the Mount Kenya forest, facilitated by Nature Kenya.
Earlier this year, Nature Kenya and CCBA-K signed a three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) to implement socio-economic investment programs in environmental conservation in Kenya.
The protection of critical watersheds forms part of the Coca-Cola system’s 2030 Water Stewardship Strategy, which focuses on sustainable, efficient water usage, improving local water challenges and partnering with others to improve watershed health and enhance community water resilience, focusing on women and girls.
“We will maintain Coca-Cola’s global metric of 100% water replenishment, focusing on improving watershed health in water-stressed areas that are critical to our business, our communities and our agricultural supply chain. We are continually assessing our priority watersheds and engaging local stakeholders to devise integrated and holistic plans for collective action,” said CCBA-K Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability Director Susan Maingi.
Planting in Phase 1 was done during the April rainy season. The Hombe restoration site includes a swamp on the verge of drying up. It is hoped that the newly planted trees will resuscitate this wetland as they mature.
Hombe CFA has a membership of about 1 900 individuals drawn from the neighbouring community. Most members engage in tree seedling production as their main source of income.
“The support from Coca-Cola Beverages Africa-Kenya has helped me pay for rent and other basic family needs like food, particularly during this difficult Covid-I9 period,” says Gladys Wangu, a member of Hombe CFA.
“I am grateful to the management of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa-Kenya and Nature Kenya for their support towards restoration of our forest. I appeal to others to also join us in making Hombe and the larger Mount Kenya Reforestation regain its original state,” says Wilson Thige, the chairperson of Hombe CFA.
Mt Kenya forest is home to rich flora and fauna. Among the species it hosts is the critically endangered Mountain Bongo and Kenya Jewel Damselfly, and the vulnerable Abbott’s Starling.