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NFA Abandons Plans to Harvest Moroto Forest :: Uganda Radionetwork
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NFA Abandons Plans to Harvest Moroto Forest

Paul Buyerah, the acting Executive Director NFA says that they have embarked on community sensitization and planting of more trees in the area.
Tepeth community during the demonstration against the destruction of Elipas Forest last year.

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National Forestry Authority-NFA has abandoned plans to harvest the contested Elipas Forest located in Tapac Sub County, Moroto district.

 

Last year, residents and leaders protested after learning that NFA had hatched plans to harvest the forest located on top of Mt. Moroto. In February, 2017 bid notice, NFA called upon interested firms to submit their bid applications to harvest pine and eucalyptus trees with a total volume of 5362.7 cubic meters.

 

It also indicated that the trees were licensed under disposal plan reference number NFA/NF/16-17/00006.

If sold, NFA would fetch more than UGX 300 million from the 10-hectare forest planted by the British in 1950s.

However, after meeting a lot of resistance from area residents and leaders, NFA has finally agreed to abandon the project.

 

Paul Buyerah, the acting Executive Director NFA says that they have embarked on community sensitization and planting of more trees in the area.

“We have been in consultative meetings with different stakeholders and the common position was that we first concentrate on planting before we harvest that forest. Of course, we know that there are trees that are actually aged and have dried up but we shall device better means on how to harvest them later when the community has calmed down. We are planning for the stakeholders meeting next week to further sensitize people on tree planting” he said.

Albert Lokoru, the Tepeth MP welcomes the move by NFA and called for further community involvement in Elipas Forest discussions and management. He notes that the forest forms part of the Tepeth inheritance and livelihood.

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Elders in Tapac claim that the forest holds fortunes for the community. It acts as an altar where elders meet to discuss issues affecting the Tepeth community such as drought.

 

Elipas forest is also used to perform rituals whenever calamities strike the community.

 

Residents also get medicine for different ailments from the forest.

The Tepeth also believe that their god lives on top of the mountain and it's in the forest that the Tepeth high priest (Kenisan) is ordained after spending six months of initiation.

According to Fr. Paul Ngole, the vicar general at Regina Mundi Cathedral, Elipas Forest has serious attachment to the Tepeth cultural believes and livelihoods. 

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