The government has lifted the ban on maize cultivation in forests.
In a circular to Regional Forest Conservators, Forest Conservators and Forest Center Managers on April 6, 2023, Chief Conservator of Forests Alexander Lemarkoko asked them to allow farmers to grow annual crops, including maize, in the plots of the Forest Life Improvement Program ( Pelis). )
Pelis is an incentive program outlined in Section 48 and 49 of the Forest Management and Conservation Act 2016, which enables communities close to forests, through Community Forestry Associations (CFAs), to use forest land for the production of forest products. food while supporting the initiation phase. of the forest.
Community members were only allowed to cultivate underground crops such as kale, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes, among others, and prohibited the growth of corn.
This is due to the rapid growth of corn that suppressed the growth of tree seedlings in some areas, especially in the first year.
“You are hereby informed that annual crops such as maize may be allowed in Pelis fields in forest plantation areas,” the circular reads.
This comes after the secretary general of the government’s forestry department, Ephantus Kimotho, last month promised farmers near the forests that the government would allow them to farm in the forests.
He said large forests have seen trees flourish due to the care of communities that work closely with KFS.
“We cannot underestimate the role that Pelis has played. We know it has contributed to the planting, protection and conservation of forests,” he said.
The PELIS system is not a completely new concept as it used to be called the Shamba system before it was renamed.