Kenya prohibits export of infamous baobab trees as “biopiracy”
In response to public protest, Kenya revoked a permit given to a foreign company to remove and export baobab trees from the coastal region.
Eight of the enormous trees were purchased by the Georgian enterprise from nearby farmers.
The intended export of the trees has been branded “biopiracy” by environmental specialists.
The environment minister claimed that the permission to remove the baobabs, which have a lifespan of up to 2,500 years, was not legally obtained.
Apparently, some farmers in Kilifi county desired to clear their property so that they could cultivate corn.
According to the UK’s Guardian newspaper, they received between $800 (£670) and $2,400 for the trees they had growing on their private property.
Although the age of the trees is unknown, photographs posted online depict uprooted trees with enormous tree trunks and branches.
Environment and Forestry Minister Soipan Tuya stated on Monday, “We have decided that the baobab trees should not be shipped until the agreements between the parties are properly regularized.
The minister stated that action would be taken against state agents who approved the sale but did not indicate whether all eight trees had been uprooted.
The cut baobab trees were placed in metal cages in Kilifi and were being watched over by security personnel while awaiting shipment, according to a story from the UK’s Guardian news site in October.
According to reports, the trees were being moved to a Georgian botanical park. Baobabs are also quite popular in Australia and South Africa.
Since many species of insects, reptiles, and birds rely on baobabs for habitat, there is fear that their removal could have a negative ecological impact.
Baobab fruits are touted as a superfood because of its abundance in vitamin C, antioxidants, calcium, potassium, and fiber. Additionally having medical benefits, the tree’s bark is utilized in cosmetics.
Baobabs can survive harsh weather conditions. The baobab tree, which grows in the African savannah and some tropical regions, is reputed to be the planet’s longest-living blooming tree.
Because of how closely its sprawling canopy resembles a root system, the species is also known as the upside-down tree. Its edible fruit can grow up to a foot long and it produces whitish blooms that bloom at night.