BUIKWE- The Minister of Water and Environment, Mr Sam Cheptoris, has said the depletion of Uganda’s forests has reached alarming levels.
He said the depletion level has reached 120,000 hectares up from 90,000 in the recent past.
Mr Cheptoris was speaking during the launch of a five-year $16.4m Phase III of the Sawlog Production Grant Scheme (SPGS) on Thursday.
The project, funded by government in partnership with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the European Union (EU), aims at improving rural incomes and climate change mitigation through commercial forestry at the Ferdsult Forestry Plantation in Luwombo village, Buikwe District.
Mr Cheptoris said Uganda risks facing food insecurity if nothing is done by 2025.
“By 1990, Uganda’s area of natural forests and woodlands was estimated at 4.9 million hectares representing 24 per cent of the land area.
By 2005, this area had reduced to about 3.6 million hactares representing 18 per cent. Recent data estimates Uganda’s current forest cover to be at 10 per cent which is very worrying,” Mr Cheptoris said, adding that people cut down trees without replacement.
The SPGS kicked off in 2004 and has supported tree plantations on more than 32,000 hectares countrywide in Mubende, Victoria area, Albertine region as well as northern, central and southwestern regions.
Mr Cheptoris and the Water State minister, Mr Ronald Kibuule, promised to give tree seedlings to primary schools in Buikwe and Mukono districts.