Jimmy Ouna, the NFA Northern Regional Manager says the move is aimed at restoring bamboo plants that were depleted from the forest reserve over the years due to encroachment and high demands.
Ouna says NFA plans to restore bamboo on 100 hectares’ piece of land at the forest reserve to increase the forest cover.
parts of ogom forest reserve that has been encroached for cultivation. NFA will embark on planting of bamboo to restore the degraded forest reseve.
The National Forestry Authority-NFA is set to start planting Bamboo in Ogom Forest Reserve in Pader District. Jimmy Ouna, the NFA Northern Regional Manager, says the move is aimed at restoring the bamboo that was depleted from the forest reserve over the years due to encroachment and high demand.
Ouna says NFA plans to restore bamboo on 100 hectares of land in the forest to increase its cover. He notes that the bamboo will not only help in increasing the forest cover and providing a conducive environment but will also provide the community members raw materials in the near future since it is fast maturing.
Ouna says they started opening parts of the forest reserve land on Monday were the bamboo seedlings will be planted. According to NFA officials, squatters had encroached on about 100 hectares of the forest land. Some of the community members have expressed mixed feelings about the project fearing that it may see their crops destroyed.
James Okello, a resident of Angagura B village, says he is worried about his peas that are nearing harvesting period. He has asked for more time before the exercise can commence. Dickens Okello, the Angagura LCV councillor told urn in an interview on Monday that as local leaders they welcome the project for the benefit of the community.
He, however, asked NFA to carry out more sensitization about the project to ensure that the community is part and parcel since many had taken over parts of the forest reserve land for farming. “We expect that since NFA has started opening the land, they should not destroy people’s crops on the forest land, they should give time for the farmers to harvest their crops before they embark on the project,” Okello says.
But Jimmy Ouna, the NFA Northern Regional Manager told URN in an interview that they had already held meetings with the district leaders and assured them that the exercise was to restore the forest covers using fast-growing bamboo plants but not to evict anyone.
The exercise according to NFA officials is part of government’s 10 years program aimed at increasing forest covers in most of the country’s degraded forest reserves. Earlier this year, the government earmarked 290 billion Shillings to promote the growth of bamboo and increase its coverage to 375,000 hectares from 67,000 hectares.
Usefulness of bamboo
Through the initiative, the government seeks to create an alternative to fuel wood, increasing raw materials for paper making and address climate change. In northern Uganda, bamboo poles serves as a building material for grass-thatched huts and erection of temporary shelters.