29 November 2006

Uganda: Forests Key to Food Supply, Says Official

THE future of Ugandans is doomed if the Forest Reserves are not protected, a Lands Ministry official has said. The Commissioner of Forest Inspection in the Ministry of Lands, Water and Environment Salvatoris Byarugaba was giving an overview of the Forest Sector in the country at the National Forest Authority workshop in Fort Portal on Friday.

He said given the rate at which Ugandans were multiplying and the increase in political pressure on Central Forest Reserves (CFRS), if something is not done to protect the forests, the country shall suffer because the forests are the future guarantees of food supply. Byarugaba warned politicians against mixing politics with forestry issues.

"All Ugandans, politicians or not should protect the Central Forest Reserves because they are the heritage to our children," he said. He warned Ugandans on the far-reaching consequences if all Central Forest Reserves (CFRs) are cleared for human settlement or their activities.

The consequences include desertification due depletion of water sources. There are only 506 forest reserves in the country and on 1.1 million hectares equivalent to about 0.05 percent of the total land areas in the country.

"Please foresters keep on track and never quit. It is said that quitters are never winners while winners never quit," Byarugaba said.

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