A section of Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) staff in partnership with Tree Adoption Uganda and the Nakaseke community planted 5,000 trees in Nakaseke District as part of their commitment to contribute to environmental sustainability and to support the government’s afforestation agenda.
The restoration of forests and tree cover by natural regeneration, plantation, or agro forestry has not kept pace with the annual loss of forest cover and the loss of individual trees. According to the National Development Plan (NDP) III, the forest cover has declined from 24% (4.9 million ha) of Uganda’s total land area to 9% (1.83 million ha) in 2018, which is a reduction of 57% in just 25 years. There has been a significant reduction in forest cover from 15% in 2010 to 9.5% in 2017.
The target, therefore is to increase land covered by forests from 9.1% percent to 15%. In the Financial Year 2023/2024 National Budget UGX 417.6b has been allocated to natural resources, environment, climate change, land, and water.
Speaking at the tree planting exercise, Suleiman Ngondi, the Head of Sustainability & Communications at Uganda Breweries, stated that the continued long-term success of UBL depends on the people and planet and a low tree cover threatens the environment and the prosperity of the communities within it.
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“As the brewery we have been consistent in re-afforesting the nation through the Running Out Of Trees (ROOTs) campaign which the Ministry of Water & Environment spearheads in partnership with various players in the private sector,” Ngondi said.
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The seedlings planted are going to be mapped and monitored by Tree Adoption Uganda and the community to ensure that they survive and grow. The community joined to plant the seedlings in their own farms to promote agroforestry.
The ROOTs campaign is an initiative that brings together the private sector and other non-state actors to support the Government’s initiative to replenish Uganda’s forest cover. The campaign’s main target is to plant 40 million trees across the country by 2025.
Nakaseke district continues to be a high area of interest because it is located in the cattle corridor renowned for farming and cattle keeping. Nakaseke has been a major source of wood resources in Uganda because of its wide range of forested areas in the southern part of the district. The high demand for wood energy for excessive charcoal production, heavy encroachment through settlements, crop cultivation, and overgrazing has left most of the once forested areas drylands. Firewood was found to be the most commonly used fuel for cooking accounting for 83% of Nakaseke (JEEP 2019) The cutting down of trees coupled with the degradation of wetlands in Nakaseke has led to changing climate in the area necessitating climate resilience interventions in form of tree planting and reforestation efforts to avert climate change negative effects.