CS Tuya Orders Cancellation Of Permits To Uproot,Export Baobab Trees

    Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry Soipan Tuya has revoked permits granted to a private company to uproot Baobab trees for export to the United States.

    Tuya issued a statement on Monday, rescinding a previous decision by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and the National Environment Management Agency (Nema) that allowed Ariba SeaWeed International to export trees from Mtondia and Tezo in Kilifi County.

    According to the statement, a private company and communities in Kilifi agreed to uproot trees, but the company began uprooting the plants before obtaining an access permit from NEMA.

    According to CS Tuya, NEMA then went to court to stop the process, as the private company, seemingly undeterred, obtained a NEMA EIA license that was awarded irregularly by the Kilifi County director of Environment.

    As a precaution, the CS directed the KFS to revoke the movement permit that permitted the trees to be transported until the situation was resolved.

    “I am in possession of a letter from NEMA cancelling the EIA license that they used to uproot the said trees. Consequently, I have, with immediate effect; instructed KFS to cancel the Movement Permit that allowed for the transportation of the baobab trees, pending a comprehensive assessment of this case,” CS Tuya said.

    The ministry has now ordered the transport and forest authorities to cancel the movement permit that allowed the transportation of the trees as well as the export, pending a reassessment of the deal.

    “We have agreed that the baobab trees should not be exported until the agreements between the parties are properly regularised,” CS Tuya added.

    She said the ministry would also take action against people found not to have followed due process.

    The government actions follow “biopiracy” concerns by environmental experts about the export of the trees to Georgia.