FINCA Uganda in partnership with National Forestry Authority (NFA) have embarked on a forest restoration initiative worth Ugx 100,000,000 restoring sixty (60) hectares (ha) of forest land. This corporate social responsibility program is in commemorate FINCA’s 30th anniversary in Uganda. The exercise will cover a period of five (5) years and the restoration planting will be spread ten (10) central forest reserves across the country.
The first restoration planting is launched in Bajo Central Forest Reserve (CFR) in Bbaale constituency – Kayunga district. Bajo CFR covers a total of 3,373 ha, gazzetted in 1932 as a catchment area for R. Ssezibwa and R. Nile that are a water catchment for L. Victoria. Bajo also serves industrial private planting.
The function graced by the Minister of State for Finance Amos Lugoolobi and Ntenjeru Member of Parliament, The FINCA Board Chair-Olive Lumonya, the Executive Director National Forestry Authority, FINCA International Board Representatives- Alejandero Jacubowicz and Keith Sandbloom, As well as the FINCA Uganda management committee, NFA staff and communities adjacent to Bajo CFR.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative, the Board Chair- Olive Lumonya said, “At FINCA, we are cognizant of the need to preserve the environment for the present and future generations. At the end of this 5 year period, we should have restored over 60 hectares of forest cover”
“FINCA believes in conserving the environment and its sustainability. This is also depicted in our logo, symbolized as a tree nurturing another” she said.
The guest of honor, Hon Amos Lugolobi implored all Ugandans to embrace conservation of the environment. “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 favorable attitudes towards tree growing and forest protection, while adopting non-wood sources of fuel” he said.
The executive director of NFA expressed his appreciation to FINCA. “When we see a private company like FINCA choosing to invest in tree growing then then know that a country we are collective responsibility to restore our degraded landscape and it is because of such initiates coupled with NFA forest restoration programs, 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.”
At NFA we believe if all citizens/companies/agencies embraced such tree planting efforts Uganda would will her National Development Plan III that targets to restores 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 minimize on the environmental disasters that we are witnessing today like the recent flash floods in Mbale district.
The drive comes at a time when efforts are needed to restore Uganda’s forest cover for a better Uganda. Tree growing is one of the mitigation measures to the effects of climate change. 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.