Rice Growing Along River Banks in Eastern Uganda Banned

Audio 1

Rice cultivation along river banks in eastern Uganda has been banned by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).
Rice farmers in Mbale, Budaka, Butaleja and Namutumba districts have been given up to one month to harvest their crops.
The NEMA commissioner for wetlands inspection, Paul Mafabi, says rice farmers in Mbale, Butaleja, Namutumba and Budaka, had encroached on the banks of Namatala, Mpologoma and Wanale rivers.
The NEMA Executive Director, Dr. Aryamanya Mugisha, says farmers must acquire permits from NEMA, which allow them to cultivate in wetlands.
But the Namutumba district Chairman, Mike Saire, says NEMA's policy to license the use of wetlands is unfair.
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Farmers along river Namatala have called for government intervention. They said that NEMA's directive would affect their incomes.