KYENJEJO, MUBENDE AND KYEGEGWA JOIN EFFORT TO CONSERVE NATURAL RESOURCES

Three districts of Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa and Mubende have embarked on bridging up the gaps that have favored opportunists to degrade the available natural resources in this region, giving priority to forest and wetland conservation. Through their initiative “Inter District Mult-Stakeholders Forum” launched in 2012 that aimed at eliminating illegal trade of timber and charcoal through stakeholder cooperation in these districts, many challenges have hindered the existence of the available natural resources which calls for collective responsibility from member districts. Among the challenges highlighted is lack of mechanisms for effective coordination and communication between these districts experiencing climatic change related hazards, as a result increased rate of deforestation in the region. Massive degradation of protected forest areas and wetlands like Kabweza forest, Rwibale Forest in Kyegegwa district, Ngata, Hapuyo and Kakabala Wetlands in Kyegegwa districts which are the main water sources to forest reserves have been encroached on. Mubende district is also on the sport where Kaweri, Kasambya and Bakojja forests where encroached on and illegal timber trade has affected most. Mubende wetlands of Kattabalanga feeding Lake Victoria are also perishing out calling for district to devise means of curbing down the practice. In a bid to curb this down the Inter District Forum has launched a campaign geared at engaging Civil Society Organizations whose activities promote sustainable and wise use of Environment and Natural Resources, security agencies i.e, office of the district police commander (DPC) and district internal security officer (DISO) and member local governments to provide logistical support in form of meeting avenues, vehicles for Forum field activities and staff time to tackle the massive degradation of natural resources. Speaking at the commissioning of this report, the coordinator of the Inter District Mult Stakeholder on Forestry and Environment Forum who doubles as the head of Kyenjojo district Forestry Officer Onzima Luke Patrick, said this forum has discovered similar challenges in the three districts with illegal trade of charcoal and timber taking the lead. “There has been degradation of forestry on private land for agricultural purposes, encroachment of protected forests and the rates being charged on the forest products has affected the management of natural resources” Onzima said. The Forum has resolved to engage Kaweri Coffee Company, New Forests Company in Mubende and Mityana, Mukwano Industries Tea Company, Macleods Tea Company and Mpanga Tea Company in Kyenjojo to champion the campaign in the region.