Uganda Baati, NFA Replant 10 Hectares in Mubuku as Part of the 4-Year Forest Reserves’ Restoration Partnership.
Mubuku Forest Reserve becomes 2nd of the 4 Central Reserves to be Replanted.
Kasese, 18th May 2023 – Uganda Baati, a member of Safal Group, in partnership with the National Forestry Authority (NFA), has replanted 10 hectares of forest ground in Mubuku Central Forest Reserve in a bid to combat the adverse effects of tree loss in the country. The event was hosted in Mubuku and presided over by the Member of Parliament – Busongola North, Kasese Hon. Kitywana Sowedi. The function was attended by local leaders, including the Resident District Commissioner, Lt. Joe Walusimbi, Mr. Rukundo Tom, the NFA Director of Natural Forests, Elifazi Muhindi Bukombi, the LCV Chairperson, Joseph Nyamutale, the mayor, and Lawrence Eliwanje, the LC1 Kisojo, among others.
Addressing the guests at the event, Hon. Kitywana Sowedi emphasized the issue of environmental protection, saying, “It is our job to protect the environment, and through the district environment office, we shall continue to sensitize and create awareness on environmental conservation within the communities. We need to protect the environment and boost our economy. Today we are undertaking a restoration exercise, which denotes that the environment has been destroyed by human activity, and this is what we must avoid in the future.”
Speaking at the tree planting event, the CEO of Uganda Baati, George Arodi, on behalf of the Safal Group and the Board of Directors of Uganda Baati, highlighted the importance of the partnership with the National Forestry Authority in restoring the forest cover in Uganda. He mentioned that under the partnership, Uganda Baati made a direct contribution of Ugx 104 million to cover the 4 districts in the Central, West, East, and Northern Uganda regions. The initiative in Mubuku Forest, covering 10 hectares, is the second intervention after a similar exercise was undertaken in Kayunga last year.
Arodi further noted that “we face numerous environmental challenges. Climate change continues to escalate, biodiversity is threatened, and our cities grapple with pollution. Our responsibility as responsible corporate citizens is to take action and make a tangible difference in the lives of the communities we serve. I call upon other corporates to augment the effort of the Government of Uganda’s forest restoration initiatives.”
“Other than Health, Education and Shelter, Environment is key among the 4 pillars in the Safal Group and Uganda Baati Corporate Social Investment Agenda, which focuses on giving back to the communities where we operate in sustainable solutions to safeguard and conserve the environment for our future generations through initiatives such as this. This broadly contributes to Sustainable Development Goals, mainly SDG 13 (climate change) and SDG 17 (partnerships),” Arodi said.
The CEO emphasized that such initiatives should not be a one-day event but must have sustainability programs after the planting exercise. He said, “Let us take care of the trees, mitigate the encroachment risks, and be proactive to ensure the trees planted survive any unprecedented conditions. As the weather can be unpredictable, we must ensure maintenance beyond this milestone today,” he remarked.
Mr. Arodi underscored the need for concerted efforts to increase forest cover to forestall the negative effects of climate change and guarantee food security. ‘The fast-growing population in Uganda will continue to put pressure on the environment due to the increased need for farmland. It is important that the local community partake in the conservation initiative for the sustainability of the reforestation exercise.’
He noted that the various cases of death and destruction of property from the River Nyamwaba are because of deforestation, leaving the hilly ground bare of cover to regulate the storm water movement. “The whole Kasese district is hilly, including all farmlands. This calls for initiative for co-existence of the tree cover with human activity, with some areas purely designated for forest cover.”
Mr. Arodi commended the various interventions by the NFA, the local leadership, and the communities in the re-afforestation exercise. Mr. Rukundo Tom, the NFA Director of Natural Forests who represented the NFA Board Chairman, expressed his gratitude to Uganda Baati and Safal Group for their continuous support towards replanting Central Forest Reserves in Uganda. He said that NFA would ensure proper maintenance of the trees even after the partnership. “It is our mandate as NFA to sustain, maintain, and develop the central reserves, and we are fully committed to offering technical support in restoring Mubuku Central Forest Reserve. Due to climate change, NFA is revising the management plans to match the current climate needs, and we shall continue to restore parts of Mubuku with long-lasting indigenous tree species.”
The LC V Chairperson, Elifazi Muhindi Bukombi, advised the residents to remain law-abiding and guard against the environment. “The challenges of natural disasters we have faced in Kasese are caused by environmental degradation. As a community, we must co-exist with the trees and benefit from each other.” He also urged NFA to support the local communities with seedlings to plant, as they offer local labor in the planting exercise.
The Resident District Commissioner, Lt. Joe Walusimbi, requested that the NFA double its efforts in enforcing the laws to mitigate environmental degradation and promised to offer extra support. “As the office of the RDC, we are ready and committed to giving more support to law enforcement. We need to protect our trees to be certain of the future,” he remarked.
According to the NFA statistics, in 1990, the forest cover was at 53%; by 1990, it had reduced to 24%; and to 12% in 2017, citing that Uganda has lost over 2.4 million hectares of forest cover.
Mubuku Forest Reserve becomes the second of the four Central Forest Reserves to be replanted under NFA’s four-year partnership with Uganda Baati Limited. The initial 10 hectares were planted in Bajjo Central Forest Reserve, Kayunga District. The other areas will be Namatale Central Forest Reserve in Sironko district and Lokiragado Central Forest Reserve in Arua district.
About Uganda Baati Limited:
Uganda Baati Limited is a Safal Group member Africa’s largest steel roofing company. Founded in 1964, Uganda Baati was the first company in the East African region to set up an ultra-modern galvanizing line. With branches in Tororo and Arua and 13 showrooms across the country, Uganda Baati is the country’s leading manufacturer and supplier of roofing sheets and allied building products.
For more information
Ian Rumanyika, Head of External and Corporate Affairs, Tel: +256 312 260962/3