Members of Parliament have urged the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) to consider enacting a policy requiring all large-scale farmers to plant trees on a specified percentage of land.
The legislators said the policy would stimulate efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change through tree planting.
“If we do not plant trees at our farms, we will be left with small forest cover. Why can’t we put up a policy and say that if you have such a farm, a certain part should be left for tree planting,” Hon. Benjamin Kamukama (NRM, Ruhama East County) said?
Kamukama said the move would complement the national forests which he said were being degraded.
He raised the proposal during the meeting of the Committee on Climate Change on Wednesday, 16 August 2023 where the State Minister for Animal Industry, Hon. Bright Rwamirama provided updates on projects being implemented to mitigate climate change.
Hon. Anthony Esenu (NRM, Kapelebyong County) noted that the already manifesting effects of a degraded forest cover call for a robust campaign on agroforestry, that should not be left only to the line ministry and its agencies.
“Farming is the highest contributor to climate change next to infrastructure. Therefore, agroforestry is an area we need to look at so that farmers are helped to grow more trees” said Esenu.
A section of legislators cited the near depletion of Mabira Forest which they said has been cleared to accommodate hotels and other facilities.
“Mabira Forest is gone; you only see the forest on the road but inside, there is nothing. They have built expensive hotels and it is no more” said Hon. Hellen Auma (NRM, Busia District Woman Representative).
Rwamirama said that the ministry is running a campaign urging farmers to use biogas as an alternative for firewood use in cooking.
“As a ministry, we have been urging the Ministry of Finance to reduce taxes on gas such that people can reduce cutting firewood,” Rwamirama said.