By Silvia Nyambura
The Uhuru Institute for Social Development (TUI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Forest Authority (NFA) to strengthen collaboration between the institutions in environmental conservation through forestry management. As part of the MoU, NFA and TUI will; engage cooperatives and the general public in tree planting enterprises, develop guidelines for tree planting, provide technical support on best forestry practices and advocate for improvement in government policy regarding tree planting and forest conservation.
Under this partnership, cooperatives in West Nile, Acholi, Lango, and Karamoja sub-regions have already been allocated 60,000 seedlings for Community Tree Planting. The other remaining sub-regions will receive seedlings in the second rain seasons of September to November.
While speaking at the signing of the MoU, David Mununuzi, the Director for Plantations at NFA said, “We are extremely proud to partner with The Uhuru Institute in the field of environmental conservation. Such partnerships will help us to increase plant material to support the country to restore the environment and mitigate adverse effects of climate change.”
Uganda’s forest cover has declined massively over the years. The National Forestry Authority (NFA) reports that Uganda has lost over 1.3 million hectares of forest cover in just 15 years. We are currently experiencing the devastating effects of deforestation. The prevailing food shortages along that cattle corridor from Isingiro district in the Tanzanian boarder to Karamoja in North Eastern Uganda, which is a result of persistent drought that hit the country towards the end of 2016 is enough to show that if we do not address the current situation, we are headed for trouble.
In April 2017, TUI launched a tree planting competition dubbed ‘Plant-a-CoopTree’ to promote commercial forestry as a viable investment option for Cooperatives.
Nyambura is a senior journalist based in Kampala