FINCA Uganda, NFA partner to restore forest cover

A man collects charcoal in the once impenetrable Bugoma Central Forest Reserve in Kikuube District. (Image: File)

FINCA Uganda has partnered with the National Forestry Authority (NFA) to restore 60 ha of forest cover in an initiative worth Shs100m.

The corporate social responsibility programme will cover five years with the restoration planting spreading to 10 central forest reserves across the country.

Speaking at the launch of the exercise in Bajo Central Forest Reserve (CFR) in Bbaale constituency, Kayunga district, to commemorate FINCA’s 30th anniversary in Uganda, Finance State Minister, Mr Amos Lugoolobi, implored all Ugandans to embrace environmental conservation.

“You are a Ugandan first and these are Uganda’s resources that we must conserve. We need a mind-set change among communities, to help the population gain positive and favourable attitudes towards tree growing and forest protection, while adopting non-wood sources of fuel,” he said.

The NFA Executive Director, Mr Tom Obong Okello, said team work for restoring the destroyed forests is the best way for a country like Uganda appreciating FINCA for joining the struggle to save forests from degradation.

“When we see a private company like FINCA choosing to invest in tree growing, then know that as a country we have a collective responsibility to restore our degraded landscape. And it is because of such initiatives coupled with NFA forest restoration programmes, plantation establishment and strict protection of the forests that we have recently seen an increase in forest cover from 9% of the total land cover in Uganda in 2015 to 13.4% in 2019 National Biomass Report,” he said.

Adding: “At NFA, we believe if all citizens or companies or agencies embraced such tree planting efforts, Uganda would achieve her National Development Plan III that targets to restore forest cover up to 15% and the Uganda Vision 2040 that targets restoring forest cover to 24% of the total land cover like it was in 1990 and this would minimise on the environmental disasters that we are witnessing today like the recent flash floods in Mbale district.”

The FINCA Board Chair, Ms Olive Lumonya, said FINCA is cognizant of the need to preserve the environment for the present and future generations adding that at the end of this five-year period, the financial institution should have restored more than 60 hectares of forest cover.

“FINCA believes in conserving the environment and its sustainability. This is also depicted in our logo, symbolised as a tree nurturing another. Part of FINCA’s core values is to support growth in all its ramifications. Having trees in our environment adds so much value such as absorbing carbon dioxide which is hazardous to human health, creating shade and being productive, generally,” she said.

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