The National Forestry Authority NFA has signed a collaborative management agreement with the Mpanga Community Conservation and Development Association to jointly conserve and protect Mpanga forest reserve in Hoima district.
The National Forestry Authority (NFA) has signed a collaborative management agreement with the Mpanga Community Conservation and Development Association to jointly conserve and protect Mpanga forest reserve in Hoima district.
The forest measuring 544 hectares in Kabwoya sub county was gazetted in 1948 for the purpose of water and soil conservation, and it's jointly managed with Bugoma central forest reserve under the management plan of 2013-2023, according to NFA.
The signing of the collaborative forest management plan whose formulation was facilitated by Mid-Western Regional Anti-Corruption Coalition was held in Kitole village in Kabwoya on Friday afternoon.
Michael Mugisa, the NFA Executive Director signed on behalf of the government agency while Stephen Nyakojo, the chairperson of the conservation group signed on behalf of the community. Benson Chicha, the Hoima district local council chairperson witnessed for the local government.
In the agreement, the group of 96 people will be facilitated and allowed to plant 20 hectares of trees species that can co-exist with short growing crops like beans, grounds nuts and onions among others.
The community will also be allowed to for the next ten years to access herbs, mushrooms, firewood and carry out agriculture from within the reserve so as to enhance their household incomes.
NFA on the other hand will have the obligation of providing tree seedlings to the community, guide them on forest management and also coordinate all activities that include massive tree restoration on the Mpanga hill that has been endangered by illegal loggers.
NFA's Michael Mugisa says that such collaborative measures are the way to go to bring the community into conservation and protection of the forests in Uganda. He says that allowing communities to participate in the management of the reserves will help bring an end to the rampant illegal logging activities whereby the timber dealers pay some money to the people who aid them into the forests.
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According to NFA, 30% of central forests in Uganda have been destroyed between 1990 and 2015. This, according to Mugisa, is attributed to encroachers for agricultural purposes and illegal logging.
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Stephen Nyakojo the Chairperson of the Mpanga Community Conservation and Development Association, was excited about the signing. Nyakojo says that the group is committed to tree planting with the major purpose of conservation.