Sarah Angolere, a mother of five children, who has benefiting from collecting the gum, says it is a very lucrative business and alternative source of livelihood for many women and men who could not afford to dig. "By now we could be harvesting the gum because this is the time but now all the trees that produce gum have been destroyed," she said.
Mr. Isaac Bwire the official from International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) however, said the rapid degradation of range land can be stopped if the districts of Karamoja can pass by-laws against environmental destruction in the region.
"Am the model farmer here, and I always plant very many acres of maize, this year I had planted six and it was doing very well but just as it was flowering, the elephants and Buffalo's come and eat all the acres with two days the six acres were finished," he said.
According to Jalon Lakony Opiyo, every time elephants invade the area, each member of the village which has around 2000 households contributes 1000 shillings for the rangers to rescue them and their properties.
Francis Byarugaba, the Sembabule District Environment Officer says they are working on an ordinance that will fully operationalize the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act of 2003, for purposes of saving traditional tree species that are currently at great risk.
Over the last 30 years Uganda has registered an increase in the number of Elephants from 2,000 to 6,000, Giraffes from 350 to 1,600, mountain Gorillas in the three countries from 350 to more than 1,000 and other animals, but these and others compete for land with humans.
Some residents have started moving to the neighbouring Lira, Kwania and Apac districts to protect their animals from theft. Last week, rustlers raided 34 cattle that were being grazed by children in Alir parish Ogwete Sub County in Otuke District.
Abasa Watuwa, the Bubiita Sub-County LC III Chairperson, says the plants ran on generator power for four years, which became unsustainable. He says that they have applied for power from Umeme, which has taken long to come.
Philip W. Mwaka, the Principal State Attorney who doubles as the Co- Chair Verification committee at the MoJCA explained that the validation exercise will be done by the District at Sub county level to ensure a comprehensive and transparent exercise based on bio data.
Although the burnt sugarcane can still be used, Kidega says they lose their juice after some time, hence, the need to expediate its harvest. He reveals that the management of the company also plans to buy fresh sugarcane to improve the quality of the final product.
Christine Nakut, a Village Health team volunteer in Kapuwat village in Iriiri Sub County told URN on Monday that several people including children between the ages of two to five years are unable to walk while the adults between the ages of 50 to 70 people can no longer sit with their buttocks because of the jigger infestation.