By Najibu Mulema

Ahead of World Environment Day, the Ministry of Environment in partnership with National Environment Management Authority and Uganda’s Little Hands Initiative have started a sensitization and tree planting campaign in the affected areas.

The programme was launched in Walanga and Bukhofu in Manafwa district with over 90,000 trees planted.

Over million trees will be distributed to people for planting in a bid to restore vegetation cover, fight environmental degradation and improve food security.

During the launch, State Minister for Environment Mary Goretti Kitutu urged the community to take tree planting as a social responsibility adding that people should also plant fruit trees and trees with act as wind breaks in order to conserve the environment.

“We are emphasizing planting of trees but we want you also to focus on fruit trees because when children eat these fruits they already have vitamins and you should also plant trees which act as wind breaks like forest muvule is quite a good tree,” said Minister Kitutu.

Manafwa District is one of the highly affected districts in Uganda when it comes to deforestation and forest degradation.

The Bukhofu Sub county LC3 chairperson said 30 years ago, the district had a very good environment, all the hills around had a very good vegetation with big trees and they could only go to the hills to graze but the problem arose when seasonal crops like beans came into effect. People cut down trees in order to grow cereal crops which grow within a very short time.
He further said sensitizing against this populace of growing the crops on top of the hills is a big challenge.
According to Uganda’s Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Redd Secretariat , deforestation and forest degradation and other related land use contributes between 17-20% of green house gases to the atmosphere.