The government has lifted the ban on mangrove logging in Lamu County.
This comes as a relief to more than 30,000 families who depend on the trade.
The announcement was made by Deputy Chief Conservator of Forests at the Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Charity Muthoni Munyasia in Lamu on Tuesday.
Ms Munyasia said they had lifted the ban after considering the plight of local communities.
The KFS official, however, said the ban still stands in other parts of the country. She said that loggers will, however, adhere to certain conditions.
They will be expected to secure permits from the KFS office in Lamu, state their experience in mangrove harvesting and indicate where they intend to sell their logs.
“We have come to Lamu today to announce the lifting of the mangrove logging ban after receiving numerous complaints from thousands of residents whose livelihoods depend on the trade,” said Ms Munyasia who also encouraged locals to plant more trees.
“We are told that even Lamu Old Town is having difficulties in repairing its buildings which entirely depend on mangroves. Parents, too, have difficulties in sending their children to school,” she said.
She, however, stressed that the ban had been lifted only in Lamu. “It is only in Lamu where the ban has been lifted, neighbouring counties like Tana River and other parts of the country should understand that the embargo is still in force,” she added.
Loggers said they had incurred losses amounting to millions of shillings due to the ban.
Lamu Mangrove Cutters Association Chairman Abdulrahman Aboud said nearly half of Lamu’s population depended on mangrove logging.
“We are grateful that the government has finally lifted the ban on mangrove (logging) in Lamu,” said Mr Aboud.
Mr Abdalla Hyder said, mangrove being part of Lamu heritage, lifting of the ban had come at the right time.
Mr Mohamed Athman said many marriages which were on the verge of collapsing, would now be saved. He said many women had deserted their broke husbands soon after the ban was imposed.
Two weeks ago, Lamu mangrove loggers had threatened to go to court if the ban was not lifted.