The Kotido District Chairperson Ambrose Lotukei says Karamoja's vast lands should be exploited for tree planting as an alternative source of livelihood.
Speaking in an interview with Uganda Radio Network over the weekend, Lotukei says with the return of peace and security in the region, tree planting needs to be promoted as a sustainable income generating activity for the people of Karamoja.
Karamoja's settlement pattern is in such a way that a number of households live in closed communities known as manyattas, leaving swathes of land in between the manyattas.
The open spaces are used mainly for grazing livestock and in some instances for growing crops like sorghum, maize, cowpeas and beans.
Traveling through Karamoja, one can see vast tracks of open savannah grasslands, with shrubs in some parts.
According to Lotukei, says tree planting should be promoted for income generation.
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Lotukei says the local Karamoja economy needs to be diversified to include afforestation, in addition to agro-pastoralism.
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Lotukei says there is a need to identify tree species that are appropriate for the climatic conditions in Karamoja.
Karamoja constitutes 20 percent of Uganda's land size, and includes the districts of Moroto, Napak, Amudat, Nakapiripirit, Kotido, Abim and Kaabong.
In an earlier report, the Napak District Environment Officer, Pauline Lokong, was quoted as saying at least 60 percent of the forest cover in Karamoja has been destroyed by uncontrolled animal grazing, bush burning and tree cutting.
Napak, Moroto and Kotido are identified as the most affected districts. Parts of Nakapiripirit and Abim districts are affected by the activity.