Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has expressed disappointment with the Ministry of Finance for not providing funds meant for the Tree Fund which is provided for in the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act, 2003.
Kadaga said this as she flagged off a 330km run targeting the restoration of forest cover in the country.
The “Running out of Trees” campaign (ROOT), will be conducted on a relay basis with runners starting at Parliament of Uganda on Friday, 07 February 2020 and ending in Gulu.
“I am frustrated with the Ministry of Finance for failing the Tree Fund under the National Forestry Act; it’s now 16 years and every time we put it up they cut the funds from the Ministry. If the tree fund is approved then we can have more trees planted,” she said.
The Tree Fund was established by the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act, 2003 to promote tree planting and growing at national and local levels; to support tree planting and growing efforts of a non-commercial nature which are of benefit to the public.
“We can do better and plant as many trees as possible; let’s use every opportunity where we have numbers to plant trees,” she added.
The campaign initiated by Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) in partnership with the Ministry of Water and Environment is responding to the need to restore the country’s tree cover. Uganda is losing its tree cover to timber, firewood, land for agriculture, road construction which have caused an average loss of 96,000 hectares of the forest cover every year.
UBL Board Chair, Japheth Katto, said the ROOT campaign seeks to raise awareness about the adverse impact of deforestation on the environment.
“Kampala – Gulu has been selected for the 2020 ROOT because the statistics along that area has been the worst affected by deforestation in the country” Katto said.
Katto added that over the next four years, a different side of the country will be chosen for the run and the relay will be a calendar event reminding the public on the need to plant trees.
The Minister of Water and Environment, Hon. Ronald Kibuule, said that the end result was to plant over 40 million trees.
“We are looking at planting 40 million trees and this cannot be achieved on our own. We need to do something practical only then shall we have an impact,” he said.
Runners will do 10km relays before passing on the baton to colleagues waiting at the different points on the route.