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Kotido Restricts Charcoal Trade to Natives

The new ordinance was passed alongside the Kotido District Tree Production and Range Land Management ordinance in December last year. They are among the three environmental protection ordinances formulated by the council early last year.
Locals selling charcoal in Moroto town.

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Kotido district council has enacted ordinances restricting charcoal trade in the district. The Kotido District Environmental Conservation and Charcoal Production Control ordinance bars nonnatives from participating in charcoal trade.

 

It also prohibits the transportation of large quantities of charcoal outside the district. It states that only registered charcoal groups may sell or transport charcoal but not more than five bags in a vehicle. The ordinance also requires persons involved in the business to register and form associations that will be charged with responsibility of replanting trees.

 

 

The new ordinance was passed alongside the Kotido District Tree Production and Range Land Management ordinance in December last year. They are among the three environmental protection ordinances formulated by the council early last year.

 

The Kotido District Open Air and Bush Burning ordinance is still under legislation. Dr. George Oming, the Kotido District Natural Resources Officer, says the ordinances will help reduce massive destruction of trees for charcoal burning. He notes that the district has lost nearly half of the tree cover to charcoal dealers since 2013.

Dr. Oming explains that the indiscriminate tree cutting has endangered some rare tree species like bitter Albizia, locally used for treating measles and other ailments. He says some of the endangered tree species act as food and are helpful to communities during hunger.

Joseph Orisa, the Kotido District Information Officer, says council is concerned with the high rate of tree cutting for charcoal burning aided by people from outside the district.  He says a number of charcoal dealers mainly from Mbale have settled in the district to cut trees, which is a threat to the environment.

 

 

Orisa notes that at least three Lorries ferrying charcoal worth Shillings 3 million each leave Kotido daily for various destinations including Mbale and Kampala. A bag of charcoal in Kotido costs 20,000 Shillings. Each lorry carries between 100 and 200 bags.

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In an earlier interview, Ambrose Lotuke, the Kotido District Chairperson attributed the high level of charcoal burning to the new settlements and high poverty levels. 

"We have these new settlements where people have migrated. There's no other alternative for survival which has forced many of my peoples to charcoal business. Charcoal dealers follow them there and sometimes exchange charcoal with waragi" Lotuke said.

 

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