What you need to know:
- Uganda’s Forest cover decreased from 54 percent in 1900 and it further shrieked to 12.4 percent in 2017 meaning between that time, we lost 2.4 million hectares of forest cover.
The Executive Director National Forestry Authority (NFA) Mr Tom Obong Okello has said there is need for Ugandans to practice Agroforestry ‘‘in order to save the country from losing all of its forest cover by 2040 due to unsustainable human activities.’’
“We want to incorporate forests in the farming system through agroforestry. We can recover the 24 percent we are projecting by 2040,” he said.
Mr Okello made the remarks on Tuesday in Entebbe while launching MTN Uganda’s “Uganda is Home” reforestation campaign -at Kyewaga Forest reserve- aimed at restoring 220 hectares of forest cover in five central forest reserves across the country.
“Uganda’s Forest cover decreased from 54 percent in 1900 and it further shrieked to 12.4 percent in 2017 meaning between that time, we lost 2.4 million hectares of forest cover. At this rate we project if nothing is done, we risk losing all the forest cover in the country by 2040,” he warned.
Mr Okello said the forest reserves where the reforestation will be carried out include Kyewaga in Entebbe, Ogera in Serere District, Engeva in Arua District, Kagombe in Kibale District and Jubia in Masaka city.
“Latest statistics show that 88 per cent of Ugandans still rely on wood fuel for house hold energy needs. The campaign, ‘Uganda is Home’ comes at the right time when government has renewed commitment to secure the country’s heritage by conserving our forests and restoring those that had been degraded,” he said.
Mr Okello said the NFA will provide one million seedlings of indigenous tree species to be planted during the reforestation campaign.
MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer, Mr Wim Vanhelleputte said the campaign which will cost Shs440 million is a recommitment to its continued investment in the socio-economic well-being of the country besides its business operations.
“As a start, we shall restore 20 hectares of forest cover in Kyewaga, before taking the reforestation initiative to four other reserves in the next four weeks. Each of these forest reserves will have 50 hectares restored,” he said.
Shares in MTN
Mr Vanhelleputte said the reforestation campaign is part of its wider “Uganda is Home” initiative which is a preparation for the Telecom Company to list 20% of its shares on the Uganda Stock Exchange, giving opportunity to Ugandans to own a section of the company.
“When government granted us our second operating license in 2020, part of the agreement was that MTN would list shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange by 2022,” he disclosed.
The Wakiso District LC 5, Mr Matia Lwanga Bwanika said forest cover in the area is mainly destroyed due to unsustainable human activities.