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Kitgum District Passes Bill Regulating Charcoal Production

Arthur Owor, an environmentalists and Director at the Center for African Research in Gulu says passing of the bill is timely since the region is witnessing increased destruction of forest cover for charcoal and timber.
A truck loaded with charcoal in Pabbo Subcounty, Amuru District. Photo By Julius Ocungi

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Kitgum District Council has passed the charcoal control and management ordinance aimed at regulating the production, transportation and marketing of charcoal.

The bill was passed on Friday in honour of the former Kitgum District Vice Chairperson Billy Graham Odongkara, who died in September. Odongkara was the Chairperson technical working committee on the joint Acholi charcoal ordinance.

The charcoal and Management ordinance was first tabled in Kitgum District council last month.

Presenting the amended bill for approval by the district councillors, Charles Ocaya, the Chairperson Production committee says the bill will help to regulate sustainable charcoal production and save environmental degradation.

Ocaya says research conducted indicates that most of the proceeds of charcoal business in the region have ended up in Central region yet the core of charcoal activities are in Acholi sub-region. 

Kitgum LCV Chairperson Jackson Omona says passing the bill is a landmark in the fight against forest destruction in Acholi Sub-region.

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Arthur Owor, an environmentalist and Director at the Center for African Research in Gulu says the passing of the bill is timely since the region is witnessing increased destruction of forest cover for charcoal and timber.

He notes that the bill comes with key components that will enhance the livelihood of the locals in the charcoal value chain through sustainable charcoal production. 

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Collins Oloya, Director of Environmental Affairs at the Ministry of Water and Environment lauded the district leaders for what he described as a visionary approach towards saving the environment from degradation.

He says the move makes the district, the first in the country to address the declining forest cover through regulation of mass charcoal production, one of the drivers of forest destruction.

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Oloya says the Ministry of water and environment will endeavor that the draft bill is reviewed and approved by the solicitor general office and will ensure that the outcome is brought back to the district. 

The bill is expected to be adopted by the other seven district councils in Acholi sub-region. Under the bill, 17 trees species including fruits, timber and construction trees, trees species with cultural significance, medicinal and protected tree species have been prohibited from being used for charcoal production.

They include Tamarind, Wild Plum trees, Mango trees, black plum, shea nut, Afzelia Africa, hard cedar mahogany and sausage tree among others.