In a bid to curb the abject poverty especially in rural areas, buy Uganda Corporative Alliance (UCA) in conjunction with The Uhuru Institute for Social Development (TUI) have launched a national wide campaign to plant trees.
The campaign dubbed “Plant a cooperative tree” was launched at Kitenda Baptist Primary School, Ngogwe sub country in Buikwe District and is expected to spread over other districts through a competition amongst local Cooperatives.
The campaign is aimed at promoting commercial tree planting as a viable strategy for wealth creation and also providing an opportunity for diversifying cooperative businesses.
Jane Okello, the Operations Director at Uhuru Institute who are the funders of the campaign indicated it is important for people to invest in long term projects that will help in improving their standards of living.
“We need to change the mindset of society because long term investment is quite important especially forestry where the demand of timber is growing daily,” she said before noting that the campaign also helps in conserving the environment.
“Concern for community is one of the seven Corporative principles and this campaign besides being a source of income helps in conservation of our environment,” Okello added.
Research shows that Uganda’s forest cover continues to dwindle by about 1.3 million hectares in the last 15 years hence leading to prevailing famine and droughts.
About the campaign
The campaign will cover 20 districts including Soroti, Hoima, Kiryandongo, Ibanda, Mbale, Kaliro, Bukwo, Kasese, Kabarole, Nebbi, Kitgum, Buikwe, Arua, Wakiso, Kampala, Masaka, Amolatar, Kabong and Tororo.
One registered cooperative from each of the mentioned districts will be selected to compete in a national wide competition where the selected cooperatives will each be given 500 grevillea tree seedlings after availing at least an acre of land.
The growth and progress of the trees will be monitored on a quarterly basis for a period of a year to determine the outstanding cooperatives.
The best three cooperatives out of the 20 will then be awarded with different prizes including an all-expenses paid trip to Kenya for the overall winners, an internal study tour for the first runners up and a project proposal/practice for the second runners up.
Why the Grevillea tree?
According to Okello, the species has a lot of functions and very easy to monitor.
“First, it suitable for Agro forestry because it has deep roots and therefore good for inter cropping,”
“Secondly, it contributes to nitrogen fixing and its leaves form high quality mulch. The study stems are good for timber, it has good wood for fuel and so on,” she explained.
Beneficiaries from Buikwe
Share an Opportunity (SAO) stood out as the best cooperative in Buikwe District and were the first benefices of the initiative upon the launch.
The SACCO chairperson Namuswe Rose Lubega thanked Uhuru institute for the initiative and promised to take on the campaign with open hands.
“We are ready for any development programme and when this came knocking, we did not hesitate to embrace it and I believe it will be a worthwhile project,” she said.