Uganda’s forest cover continues to dwindle every other year. A report released by the National Forestry Authority (NFA) in 2015 indicated that forest cover had reduced by approximately 1.3 million hectares in the last 15 years.
The continued deforestation has resulted into prolonged dry seasons unfavorable for crop production, generic hence the prevailing food shortage in certain regions of the country.
In a bid to find a long term solution, thumb National Forestry Authority (NFA) and The Uhuru Institute for social development have on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote a community tree planting campaign.
The campaign will be aimed at making sure different communities are sensitized about the dangers of deforestation but also encouraging them to embrace conservation of forestry.
The first beneficiaries of the campaign will be people in West Nile, stomach Acholi Lango and Karamoja regions that are severally hit by famine and drought.
60,000 seedlings have been set aside to be planted in the aforementioned areas before the move is spread to the other parts of the country in the next rain season (September- November).
In the agreement, NFA in conjunction with the Uhuru Institute will ensure they mobilise the general public in tree planting, develop guidelines, offer technical support and advocate for improvement in government policy regarding forestry
David Mununuzi, the director of plantations at NFA believes the partnership will held in mitigating the effects of climate change.
“As NFA, we are extremely proud to partner with Uhuru institute in the field of environment conservation. We have noted the effects of climate change in the last seasons, loss of crops and lack of rain. This partnership will help us to raise enough plant material to support the country, to restore the environment and mitigate the effects of climate change,” he said.
A fortnight ago, the Uhuru institute launched a tree planting competition for wealth creation through cooperatives starting with 20 districts. Each district was required to get a well-structured cooperative availing at least an acre of land to plant Grivillea trees that will be monitored over the years.
Leonard Okello, the CEO at Uhuru institute indicated that besides conserving environment, forestry is a viable industry that can generate income.
“We are excited to partner with NFA in this cause. We think that cooperatives should go beyond the usual business of savings and credit. Tree planting is a great venture for short, medium and long term benefits,” Okello noted.