The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Cattle Keepers Destroy Newly Planted Trees

Cattle keepers have invaded thousands of hectares of trees recently planted in Tabagwe sector in Nyagatare district with their cattle, threatening the source of water for several villages in the district.

The trees were planted by Ministry of Natural Resources in collaboration with Rwanda Defence Forces reserve force.

The destruction came to the fore during a weekend on-spot visit by the Minister of Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, Maj Gen Jerome Ngendahimana, the Deputy Reserve Force Chief of Staff and local leaders, where they witnessed women and men grazing cows in the growing trees.

The minister vowed to deal with all the people involved in the degradation of the forest, adding that he had convened a meeting with all stakeholders and put in place strategies and plans to smoke out culprits from the forest.

He urged district leaders and other relevant authorities to take the problem seriously by taking legal measures against perpetrators of such acts.

He also warned irresponsible leaders at various levels, saying they would be held accountable for their inactions.

"We caught one cattle keeper red-handed...he was comfortably grazing cows in the trees that took us a lot of energy and money to plant. This kind of irresponsibility can't be tolerated. I have told the farmers and local leaders to take care of the trees or risk facing the law," he said.

Kamanzi further said the issue of termites that have been destroying the trees would be addressed soon.

Meanwhile, John Gatare, a farmer who was caught grazing cows in the planted trees, apologised and vowed never to repeat the crime.

He admitted that his actions was regrettable and called upon other farmers to desist from forest destruction.

"I feel ashamed of my actions that were guided by myopic thinking and greed. We all know the importance of trees, they attract rainfall, control soil erosion, etc. After talking to the minister and other leaders, I am convinced than ever that we, farmers, must spear head tree protection," he said.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2013 The New Times. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.