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FINCA Uganda, NFA start 60-hectare forest restoration initiative

 

Minister Lugoloobi launches the tree planting exercise that will cover 60 hectares. COURTESY PHOTO

Kayunga, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | FINCA Uganda and the National Forestry Authority (NFA) have partnered to restore 60 hectares of forest land in the country in the next five years.

This corporate social responsibility program to commemorate FINCA’s 30th anniversary in Uganda will involve restoration planting in 10 central forest reserves across the country. The restoration initiative is worth sh100million.

The restoration planting was this week launched in Bajo Central Forest Reserve (CFR) in Bbaale constituency – Kayunga district at a function graced by the Minister of State for Finance and Ntenjeru Member of Parliament Amos Lugoloobi.

Lugoloobi implored all Ugandans to embrace conservation of the environment.

“You are a Ugandan first and these are Uganda’s resources that we must conserve. We need a mind-set change among communities, to help the population gain positive and favorable attitudes towards tree growing and forest protection, while adopting non-wood sources of fuel” he said.

Bajo CFR covers a total of 3,373 hectares, gazzetted in 1932 as a catchment area for River Ssezibwa and River Nile that are a water catchment for Lake Victoria. Bajo also serves industrial private planting.

Minister Lugoloobi explains benefits of forest conservation. He is flanked by FINCA board chair Olive Lumonya (left)

Speaking at the launch of the initiative, the FINCA Board Chairperson Olive Lumonya said, “At FINCA, we are cognizant of the need to preserve the environment for the present and future generations. At the end of this 5 year period, we should have restored over 60 hectares of forest cover”

“FINCA believes in conserving the environment and its sustainability. This is also depicted in our logo, symbolized as a tree nurturing another” she said

The executive director of NFA Tom Okello Obong expressed his appreciation to FINCA. “It is because of such initiates coupled with NFA forest restoration programs, plantation establishment and strict protection of the forests that we have recently seen an increase in forest cover from 9% of the total land cover in Uganda in 2015 to 13.4% in 2019 National Biomass Report,” Obong said.

“We are happy to see a private company like FINCA choosing to invest in tree growing.  We are all collectively responsible to restore our degraded landscape.”

He added that, ” At NFA we believe if all citizens, companies and agencies embraced such tree planting efforts Uganda would achieve her National Development Plan III that targets to restores forest cover up to 15% and the Uganda Vision 2040 that targets restoring forest cover to 24% of the total land cover like it was in 1990. This would minimize on the environmental disasters that we are witnessing today like the recent flash floods in Mbale district.”

Obong said the FINCA/NFA drive comes at a time when efforts are needed to restore Uganda’s forest cover for a better Uganda. Tree growing is one of the mitigation measures to the effects of climate change.

“Part of FINCA’s core values is to support growth in all its ramifications. Having trees in our environment adds so much value such as absorbing carbon dioxide which is hazardous to human health, creating shade and being productive, generally,” and expert from FINCA remarked.

The forest restoration launch was also attended by the Executive Director National Forestry Authority, FINCA International Board Representatives- Alejandero Jacubowicz and Keith Sandbloom, as well as the FINCA Uganda management committee, NFA staff and communities adjacent to Bajo CFR.

 

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