Isingiro district has embarked on a tree planting campaign in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development-USAID. The district seeks to plant 100,000 trees in an attempt to mitigate environment related problems such as landslides.
The campaigns weeks after the district announced a ban on charcoal burning and the sale of charcoal. The tree planting campaign targets people in hilly area and those along the roadside. The beneficiaries will free seedlings of pine, eucalyptus and a mixture of fruit trees.
Jeremiah Kamurali, the Isingiro LC V chairperson, says they have already sensitised residents through churches, community gathering and crime preventers to embrace the project. Without disclosing how much the entire project will cost, Kamurali said they will implement the project in phases over the next five years.
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Emmanuel Bwengye, the Natural Resources Officer, Isingiro District, says there is need for the district leadership and residents to work together to ensure the tree cover is increased. Donozio Kibanda, the Birere sub county councilor is one of those interested in the tree planting project.
According to Kibanda, Isingiro district is currently battling the effects of environmental degradation, adding that the tree planting project could help reverse the effects. Kibanda says he has mobilised his electorate to embrace the project, saying several people are eagerly waiting for it to start.
Robert Ankunda, a resident of Isingiro town council has welcomed the project but his only worry is that distributing 20,000 tree seedlings each year may not meet their demand. According to Ankunda, many people have shown interest after receiving information that the tree seedlings are free of charge.
Ankunda says the project is long overdue since many residents have land that has been lying idle for years. Forest degradation in Uganda is estimated at about 92,000 hectares annually, which some experts suggest is roughly the size of the well-known Mabira forest reserve. Uganda's forest cover has reduced from 53 to 24 per cent in the last 50 years.