Rural poverty and forest destruction (allAfrica / The Nation)

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allAfrica.com

The Nation (Nairobi)

Uganda: Poverty Destroying Forests, Says Minister

Hussein Bogere And Agencies
Kampala

While Uganda suffers violent protests over plans to turn a big chunk of Mabira rainforest into sugar cane plantation, Ugandans are destroying eight times as much forest every year due to poverty, a minister said yesterday.  Minister of State for Environment Jesca Eriyo told agencies that rural poverty and population pressure on increasingly scarce land and resources was devastating the east African country’s forest cover.

 

About 55,000 hectares of forest cover per annum disappears,” she said. “That is a big challenge to us.”

Last week, a protest against government plans to give at least 7,100 hectares (17,000 acres) or nearly a third of Mabira Forest Reserve to the Indian-owned Mehta Group’s sugar estate turned violent.

Three people were killed, including an Indian man who was stoned to death by rioters. Meanwhile, by yesterday afternoon, two Uganda Members of Parliament, and their 30 co-accused were in the final stages of their conditional release from jail where they had been detained for inciting violence among other charges.

Beatrice Anywar (MP Woman Kitgum) and Hussein Kyanjo (MP Makindye West) ‘s arrest on Monday also triggered off a series of violent actions onto the streets of Kampala.

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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