After severe drought, Teso leaders commit to tree planting
Leaders from across Teso sub-region have risen up from slumber to plant trees as a way to avoid the adverse effects of drought.
Recently, the Central Rotary Club is set to partner with Soroti Municipal council to promote tree planting in schools and other areas in Teso sub-region as one way of addressing environment challenges.
The move is in line with a recent directive by the State Minister for environment, Mary Goretti Kitutu to local governments in ensuring that they streamline the environment guidelines in order to revive the lost tree cover in the region.
Teso sub-region has recently been plagued by prolonged drought and severe famine, which has left thousands of households especially those in Katakwi, Kumi, Amuria, and Serere districts among others suffering with acute food shortage.
Dr. Joel Okalany the secretary general Rotary Club of Soroti Central noted that the tree planting campaign that the Rotarians hope to engage in will target growing of especially fruit trees such as mangoes, guavas, oranges and pine trees for wood cutting.
“In the next three years to come, we hope to have planted at least 5 million trees as Rotarians, Dr. Okalany said.
According to Okalany, they are at the initial stages of planning for the activity adding that this will be spread across schools and communities as part of the strategy to mitigate climate change and revive the lost green cover in parts of Teso.
Most district and local leaders and environment experts have time and again blamed the prolonged drought on the effects of mass indiscriminate cutting of trees by people whose livelihoods depend on charcoal burning with an aim of selling in order to earn a living.
The Chief Administrative officer (CAO) Soroti district Chuna Moses Ekapolon asked government to re-think about the tariffs being levied on power, in order for people to stop using charcoal for cooking.
“We wouldn’t want to use charcoal, but because some people cannot afford power for cooking, they resort to charcoal burning instead,”, Chuna revealed.
Recently, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in partnership with the Ministry of Environment made a donation of 80,000 trees seedlings to be planted in Teso Sub region as soon as the rains return.
According to information obtained from the office of the state minister for environment, each district in Teso will receive 10,000 fruit tree seedlings for planting. Teso sub region has eight districts.
On the April 24, 2017, a regional dialogue for Teso leaders’ on reconnecting local governments to effective environment and natural resources management organized by NEMA was held in Soroti district.
It brought on board district chairpersons, CAOs, district planners, environment officers, and production officers aimed at ensuring that policies in the environment sector are strengthened and other underlying issues affecting the sector performance at the local government levels in Teso Sub region assessed.
Minister Goretti Kitutu issued a directive to all district local governments to strengthen environment policies that promote tree planting in Schools.