Kasese — Hima Cement has renewed its partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to protect River Mubuku catchment area through planting of trees and promoting safer agricultural practices amongst farmers along the river.
The partnership between Hima Cement and WWF started in 2014 for protection and management of River Mubuku catchment area. The new MoU that has been signed is for the payment of watershed services schemes for protection of the same catchment.
It also aims at providing environmental education awareness, and enhances access to renewable energy technologies and energy conservation as well as maintenance of ecosystem services.
Andy White, the Deputy Plant Manager at Hima Cement said the cement maker is committed to promoting conservation efforts in its business and in the communities in which it operates so as to create shared value for society.
"While our main business is cement, sustainability is a key part of our core business strategy and guides us in our endeavors in areas of governance, environmental protection and social responsiveness.
"We have all learnt that the environment and nature are precious resources which are not limited. We have put in place key programs to ensure that our activities have minimum effect on our environment but even more efforts towards activities that replenish the environment," White explained.
Over 130,000 trees have so far been planted with various species of trees planted along the river Mubuku banks. These include, Pine, Gravellier, Bamboo, Maesopsis, caliandra and Albizia.
Ndifuna Matthias, the Chief Administrative Officer Kasese lauded Hima Cement for continuously pursuing sustainable means while producing cement.
"I would like to thank Hima Cement for producing cement while taking care of the environment. Specifically, I am happy that you are now using coffee husks in your cement kilns. This has led to job creation and employment opportunities as well as increased household incomes in our area," he said.
Adding, "This exercise today is a very important one because we are preserving the environment; water protection. As you may be aware, most medicines come from these trees and this is one of the reasons we should endeavor to protect our environment."
Fred Kimaite, the Conservation Manager at WWF said since 2014 when the first MoU was signed between Hima and WWF, there has been tremendous improvements to their sustainability efforts and that the renewal of the partnership is a big vote of confidence.
"This is a special day for us as WWF. We are celebrating our partnership with you; a group of people who share the same beliefs with us. Hima has committed another round of funding because of the good work that they've seen ongoing. The private sector is now recognizing that this is the way to go and there's been a lot of interest coming in from them in regard to the environmental protection," he explained.
The scheme is being implemented with farmers upstream who are the land and water custodians and the private sector downstream who are the water resource users.