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NFA Pushes for Special Fund to Boost Tree Planting Campaigns

Once set up, the Tree Fund shall consist of a vote appropriated by Parliament, loans obtained by government, grants, gifts and donations. The money shall then be used to promote tree planting and growing at national and local levels.

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The National Forestry Authority-NFA is calling on Parliament to push for the establishment of a Tree Fund to boost the tree planting campaign in the country.

The National Forestry and Tree planting Act 2003, which emphasizes planting and protection of trees also provides for setting up a tree fund which has never been operationalised over ten years down the road.

Once set up, the Tree Fund shall consist of a vote appropriated by Parliament, loans obtained by government, grants, gifts and donations. The money shall then be used to promote tree planting and growing at national and local levels, Michael Mugisa, the NFA Executive Director says.

He adds that the money will also be used to support tree planting and growing efforts of a non-commercial nature which are of benefit to the public.  

He further expresses concern that Uganda’s existing forests are sadly vanishing at an alarming rate. Soils have also grossly become barren while bio-diversity and eco-system services are nearly no more, he adds.

Mugisa believes if put in place, the tree fund will help tree planters across the country make more money.

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Edwin Muhumuza the project coordinator ‘One million Youth-One million trees’ is targeting one million youth across the country in a go green campaign to plant more than ten  million trees in five years.

The Project is mobilizing seedlings for distribution to constituencies across the country, school clubs and district local governments among others.

So far through the project, trees are being planted in Kamuli, Katakwi, and Rwenzori Mountains, along River Nyamwamba and along roads such as the Northern by pass. Unemployed youth get the seedlings free of charge and create employment.

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Apart from fruit trees, the project is also fostering the planting of indigenous and ornamental trees for environmental conservation purposes alongside commercial tree planting such as pine and eucalyptus.

Between 1990 and 2005 Uganda lost 26 percent of its forest cover, a rate that is the seventh highest among the 62 countries with tropical forests worldwide.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, out of the nearly 3.6 million hectares of forest land left in 2005, the country loses 2.1 percent every year from 2.9 percent in 2009/2010 to 2.8 percent in 2010/2011.  

Several studies have also confirmed that Uganda is vulnerable to climate change and variability. Climate change is more extreme and leads to frequent periods of intense rainfall, drought, erratic onset and cessation of the rainy season.

 These changes are likely to have significant implications for agriculture, food security, soil and water sources.

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