Bukedea, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Iteso Cultural Union-ICU in conjunction with Akogo festivals have embarked on a mass tree planting campaign dubbed, “Plant a tree, save generations” across the Teso sub-region. The campaign is targeting all the districts of Teso including Busia, Butebo, Pallisa, and Tororo.
Emmanuel Edulu, the Director of Akogo Concepts Ltd, which is behind the campaign, says that they expect to plant over 50 million different tree species in the targeted areas. He says the move is geared toward restoring the environment, which has been affected by human activities.
“Knowing how the cutting down of trees is a major factor affecting the environment today, which has led to environmental crisis like long drought and famine, we believe through collaborating with your office, we could reverse this by encouraging all the districts all over Teso to plant trees as stakeholders together, leading by example in giving out free seedlings to all those who come to attend our events which would send a message to others to follow suit”, the concept proposal to the National Forestry Authority and other stakeholders reads in part.
According to Edulu, the increasing pressure on the environment and natural resources prompted the tree planting campaign. “It’s unfortunate that Uganda’s forest cover has sharply declined by a huge reduction in just 25 years. This is majorly attributed to the rapid cutting of trees for firewood and charcoal for cooking with other auxiliary drivers such as the expansion of agricultural land, sporadic urbanization, and industrialization”, he added.
The organization has set a timeline of five years for individuals, organizations, and institutions to plant trees in their respective areas. Bukedea district has so far received 300,000 tree seedlings to commence the program.
Jotham Ekise, a clan leader in Aputiput parish in Kachumbala sub county in Bukedea district, says that the tree planting campaign is timely.
While handing over 10,000 seedlings of assorted indigenous species to Akogo and ICU leadership, the National Forestry Authority-NFA said that they will support the Ateker to realize the desired goal.
“We appreciate your desire and zeal to plant trees for both environmental conservation and income. We anticipate that the trees will be given good care to grow by protecting them from stray grazing livestock and wildfires”, Maxwell Kabi said in a letter written on behalf of the NFA Executive Director.
According to the proposal by Akogo and ICU, every clan should plant at least 10,000 trees. ICU has registered about 1,500 clans across all districts of Teso. In April, Prof. Patrick Ogwang, the Director of Jena Herbals joined hands with Miss Tourism Teso to plant at least 25 million trees across Teso.
Prof. Ogwang’s tree planting campaign also runs for five years. Our reporter couldn’t readily establish how far the campaign has gone and how many trees have been planted to date.