18 November 2006

Rwanda: 500 Million Earmarked for Forest Cover

Kigali — The Minister of Lands, Water and Mines (MINITERE), Christophe Bazivamo has said that government has set aside Frw500m for revamping forests in the country. Addressing a press conference on November 16, held at his offices in Kacyiru, Bazivamo,

who decried the destruction of forest cover, explained that since 1996, 51 per cent of the natural forests in the country have been destroyed due to resettlement and population pressure. He added that statistics indicate that 90 per cent of the Gishwati Natural Forest and 66 per cent of the Akagera National Park was used for resettlement, adding however, that so far Frw400 million has been spent to remedy the situation.

"We consume 6.7 million tones of trees in country per year, the National University of Rwanda [NUR] alone uses 600,000 tonnes of trees per year for cooking and within 10 years, both natural and artificial forests have been reduced from 545,000 to 221,000 hectares," Bazivamo noted.

He also said all encroachers on wetlands within a 50m radius are to be evicted beginning next year.

He urged people to adopt new technological measures like the use of bio-gas and recycling garbage in a bid to reduce the tonnes of trees consumed per day.

The Minister also noted that this year's tree planting programme to remedy the situation targeted all primary schools and different strata of administrative units in the country, with each planting between 2 and 30 hectares of trees.

The Minister said that in a bid to attain the objectives of the programme, Frw60m has been set aside for the purchase of seedlings; Frw99m for tools used in nursery beds; Frw3m for nursery beds in the districts and Frw160m for wages.

Bazivamo said that during this month's communal work [Umuganda] on November 25, people will plant trees in their respective areas, after which they will discuss the value of trees and how they can be protected.

He further revealed that the World Tree Planting Day is slated for Monday, November 20, with the national celebrations taking place in Bugesera District in the Eastern Province, where 50 million trees are to be planted on 4,500 hectares.

The Secretary General in MINITERE, Emmanuel Nsanzumuganwa said that the ministry would support non-governmental organisations [NGO's] that had initiated tree-planting along highways.

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