No more free tree seedlings, says NFA boss

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Ugandans intending to get free tree seedlings will have to wait a little longer as the National Forestry Authority (NFA) has failed to raise 10m seedlings annually distributed to communities due to budget cuts.

NFA executive director, Mr Michael Mugisa said at the National Forestry Conference Consultative Forum in Kampala organised by civil society organisations and Ministry of Water and Environment that without budget increment, those intending to green Uganda will have to foot their bills.

“This financial, we are doing badly in terms of tress. Many have written to us for seedlings but because of budget constraints, we don’t have them,” Mr Mugisa said appealing for an increment from the current Shs2bn to at least 10bn.

Nfa produces at least 30m tree seedlings annually. Of the said 30m tree seedlings, 10m are given out to individuals free of charge to increase forest cover.

Uganda loss over 200,000 hectares of forest cover annually due to among other things; high population growth, expansion of agricultural land, settlement and any effort to protect and reforestation is handy.

Under the second National Development Plan (NDPII), Uganda is supposed to increase its forest cover from the current 10 per cent to 18 per cent. But the NFA boss said they have a memorandum of understanding with ministry of Defence and Uganda Wildlife Authority for dual management of 14 forest reserves.

State minister for Environment Dr Mary Kitutu at the same event insisted that encroachers in wetlands and forests will have to vacate and those in Namanve forest reserve near Kampala will act as an example of government resolute to conserve the environment.
“Namanve encroachers with or without land title will have to go. They will act as an example,” Dr Kitutu said.

Government, through its emergencies; the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and the National Forestry Authority (NFA) attempted to evict the said encroachers last year but encroachers ran to court which issued a court injunction which is still on.

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