In its advocacy and fact finding missions, Kenya Forests Working Group (KFWG) has observed with concern carpets of Kikuyu grass being extracted in piles of about two feet square size from gazetted forests and ferried for sale specifically in Nairobi and its environs for landscaping both in homes as well as stabilizing shoulders on newly constructed roads, in this particular case, Thika Super Highway. Kinale forest has been noted as one of the sources of this product.
This is an activity that the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and the established Kinale Community Forest Association should stop. Those who extract the grass do it during the day in an unsustainable manner
without fear of arrest. This can be interpreted to mean that KFS and communities have failed to play one of their key roles – monitoring.
The activity is a big business, where a piece of one square foot goes for Ksh. 100.00. Vendors along major highways in Nairobi such as Ngong Road-near Dagoreti corner prominently display the product and when you drive along Thika road you will see men and women “MEN AT WORK” laying it on bare soils on the shoulders of the Super Highway. Our investigation revealed that what is on display constitute a tiny percentage of what is available for sale. We managed to purchase a piece shown in the attached photos at Ksh. 100.00 one week ago.
Grass and top soil form critical components of a forest ecosystem and their extraction stresses the ecosystem. Recent studies on carbon also reveal that grass and by extention topsoil constitute a significant component of carbon sinks. We appeal to Kenya Forest Service to take a bold step in stopping the practice.
By Jackson Bambo-Kenya Forests Working Group