Kampala, Uganda | Julius Businge | In a bid to conserve Uganda’s forest cover, on April 20, Michael Magambo, the chief executive officer for ATC Uganda handed over a dummy cheque worth Shs 45 million to Alfred Okot Okidi, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Water and Environment towards the 2021 Running Out of Trees (ROOTS) campaign.
Magambo said, the occasion signified ATC Uganda’s commitment and contribution to the conservation of Uganda’s indigenous tree species. “As part of our corporate social responsibility, the environment is one of the five core pillars for which we purposefully conserve to positively impact the communities in which we operate,” he said. He added that their contribution to the campaign therefore, is to address a challenge within communities but also beyond, seeing that the national deforestation rate stands at 2% annually with an average of 122,000 hectares lost every year.
The Running out of Trees (ROOTs) campaign is an initiative between the Ministry of Water and Environment in collaboration with Uganda Breweries Limited together with other private sector players. Their main objective is to work together to fast track National Forest Restoration Goals and Commitments which includes a plan to restore 2.5million hectares of degraded landscapes by 2030.
The Ministry of Water and Environment in collaboration with Uganda Breweries Limited launched an annual campaign in October 2019 dubbed ‘Running Out Of Trees’ (ROOTs), which entails a series of activities aimed at restoring Uganda’s diminishing tree cover. This year, the campaign kicked off with an aerobics exercise for all participants at the Parliament of Uganda, followed by the launch of the ROOTs App by the Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of Parliament.
The App is accessible by the general public and can be downloaded via Google Play Store or App Store. One can purchase a tree at Shs1,500, using mobile money via the ROOTs App. Okidi, said ATC Uganda’s participation is an encouragement to other private sector players to join the campaign. The plan this year, is to plant 40 million tress all over the country. With this milestone, Okidi, said Uganda is eagerly looking forward to commemorating the National Tree Planting Day on May 17.