Kenya blocks baobab tree exports to Georgia citing ‘irregularities’

Kenyan authorities have sought to block the “uprooting and transport” of eight baobab trees to Georgia after the government said a license to uproot them had been “irregularly” granted.

in one expression On Monday, Kenya’s Minister of Environment and Forestry, Roselinda Soipan Tuya, said she had revoked a license to transport the trees that had already been uprooted, while a license to uproot the trees had also been revoked.

Kenya Forest Service documents viewed by OC media indicate that the trees were destined for the Shekvetili Dendrological Park established by the founder of the Georgian ruling party and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Monday’s statement said a private company had begun illegally uprooting trees in Kenya’s Kilifi County for export to Georgia without obtaining a license to do so.

It said the company subsequently obtained a license, which a local official “irregularly issued”.

The minister said the trees, already uprooted, would be held pending an agreement “duly settled”, including a “benefit-sharing formula”.

The minister added that such activities could be carried out if they comply with the Convention on Biological Diversity, which calls for biodiversity conservation, sustainability and fair and equitable sharing of benefits.

A report through the guard in October, Georgian national Giorgi Gvasalia identified the export of baobab trees to Georgia. They reported that Gvasalia began searching for the “perfect”. Baobabs in late 2019, offering local residents 100,000 to 300,000 Kenyan shillings ($820 to $2,500) each.

Gvasalia tells the guard He saved the trees as local residents intended to cut them down to clear land for agriculture.

A photo allegedly showing Giorgi Gvasalia with an uprooted baobab tree. Photo: City of Fumba.

Wambui Ippolito, a New York-based Kenyan gardener and activist, said Gvasalia “targeted the poorest of the poor”.

“It’s such a bizarre episode. No one knows how he got the approval,” Ippolito said OC media.

“Kenyans of all walks of life are traumatized by what he has been doing and we are grateful that he has been stopped,” she said, adding that the baobab is “highly revered” in Kenya. “They balance entire ecologies.”

“What would Georgians do if a so-called Kenyan investor came to your country and decided to collect mountains? They would fight him off. The same goes for us with our trees.”

‘Your former Prime Minister [Bidzina Ivanishvili] sounds like real work. Its behavior is what happens when a person is so disconnected from a consciousness of nature that they begin to believe they have dominion over it,” Ippolito said.

Bidzina Ivanishvili, the billionaire founder of Georgian Dream, is known for his controversial tree picking Hobby. Taming the Garden, a 2021 documentary about Ivanishvili collecting trees, caused controversy after Georgia’s National Cinema Academy was abruptly cancelled demonstrations of the movie.

Portions of the film that didn’t make the final cut were broadcast by last week Chai Khana, which showed how Giorgi Gvasalia, director of the company responsible for uprooting baobabs in Kenya, negotiated with officials in Zanzibar to uproot baobabs there. Gvasalia promises to fix the roads in return.