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Community Drive Boosts Wetlands Protection in Kabarole

A recent report by the district natural resources department shows that subsistence farming and animal husbandry were the most significantly dominant activities around and inside wetlands. Other activities include, sand mining and collection of firewood. But under the new arrangement, the formed groups harvest materials such as papyrus and Reeds to make beads, baskets and beehives.

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Communities neighboring wetlands in Kabarole district have formed groups to utilize the wetlands for economic benefit as one of the agreed plans to protect them against destruction. 

Three wetland management teams comprising of local community members were set up to protect Nyakimi wetland, in line with provisions of the National Wetlands Policy.  The policy allows communities living near wetlands to use traditional practices to conserve them.

Michael Mugenyi, the chairperson of the team says the wetland in Busoro Sub County had been encroached on by farmers who planted season crops such as maize, beans, carrots and sweet potatoes. He however adds that the community action has driven away, several encroachers.

A recent report by the district natural resources department shows that subsistence farming and animal husbandry were the most significantly dominant activities around and inside wetlands. Other activities include, sand mining and collection of firewood.

But under the new arrangement, the formed groups harvest materials such as papyrus and Reeds to make beads, baskets and beehives.

In Sebitoli wetland, the local community has come up with wetland protection ordinances which restrict or require specific activities within wetland boundaries. Faith Kugonza, the chairperson Sebitoli wetland management committee says that the move has transformed the wetland into a home for a range of bird species, plants and primates.

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David Ruyonga, the Kabarole district natural resources coordinator says that the wetland management plan has boosted wetland protection in areas where ordinances had failed. He envisions expanding the plan to cover other communities where degradation of wetlands is continuing. 

However the wetland plan is being resisted by some residents. Simon Musali, a farmer in Sebitoli village says he prefers cultivating in wetlands because they are very fertile. Musali explains that due to lack of funds to buy fertilizers to improve richness of their lands, wetlands become a more viable option.

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Wetlands throughout the country are ecosystems of great value and are held in trust by the government for the benefit of the people. However they are increasingly being encroached on due to a growing population and reclaimed mainly for agriculture and settlements.

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