The national government has finally lifted the mangrove logging ban that has been in place in Lamu County for the past one year.
This comes as a relief to the more than 30,000 families depending directly on mangrove trade in the region who have so far suffered losses and breakdown of their lifestyle.
The announcement was made by Kenya Forest Service (KFS) Deputy Chief Conservator of Forests Charity Muthoni Munyasia in Lamu on Tuesday.
Mrs Munyasia, who was accompanied by a team of officials from the KFS and Conservancy Headquarters in Nairobi, said they had decided to lift the ban after taking into consideration the suffering to the Lamu community.
Mrs Munyasia, however, said the logging ban still stands in all other parts of Kenya.
He insisted that the Lamu loggers will have to adhere to some rules despite the lift of the ban.
Some of the rules include having a permit from the KFS office in Lamu, experience in mangrove harvesting and also indicate to whom the loggers sell the mangrove once they harvest.
Plant more trees
Mrs Munyasia also insisted on the need for loggers to ensure they plant more trees, particularly the mangroves, as they cut them down.
She advised the loggers to cooperate with the KFS department in ensuring the harvesting is done in a sustainable manner.
“We have come to Lamu today to announce the lifting of the mangrove ban. We have heard the numerous complaints from thousands of mangrove loggers whose livelihoods lie with the trade.
"We are told even the Lamu Old Town, which is a heritage site is having difficulties in the repair of its buildings that entirely depend on mangroves. Parents have also faced challenges in sending their children to school. We have therefore lifted the ban so that people can cope with their livelihood,” said Mrs Munyasia.
She said: “It’s only in Lamu where the ban has been lifted. So people, even those in neighbouring counties like Tana River should understand that the ban in those other parts of Kenya still stands.
"We decided to lift the Lamu mangrove ban since people here have no alternative way to sustain their livelihoods.”