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Mt. Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise joins the ROOTs Campaign in restoration of national forests

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The Ministry of Water and Environment and Uganda Breweries Ltd have embarked on Running Out Of Trees (ROOTs) Campaign in Mt. Elgon region.

ROOTs Campaign was innovated to implement a broad National Greening Campaign which was launched in 2020 out of the need to rally every Ugandan to make a contribution to the national forest restoration aspirations through increased public awareness and participation with a target of planting 40million trees per year.

Speaking at Mt. Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise (METGE) Project Offices in Mbale, Mr. Alfred Okidi, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water and Environment said that the campaign is built around engaging local stakeholders in attaining national restoration goals, through increased public awareness and participation

“The aim is to rally Ugandans especially the private sector into action in the conservation and protection of indigenous tree species to address ongoing loss and conversion of primary and secondary natural forest.” she said

The campaign approach involves adopting restoration strategies to fit local social, economic and ecological contexts and a wide range of eligible technical strategies for restoring a mosaic canopy of trees on the national landscape by making a contribution to relevant national aspirations.

The campaign also aims at fast tracking national restoration goals and commitments that include but not limited to the pledge to restore 2.5million hectares of degraded forest landscapes by 2030 under the Bonn Challenge, Vision 2040 aimed at restoring forest cover of total land area to 24% and Uganda’s Green Growth Strategy.

The campaign involves a series of calendar activities including a Run to raise awareness followed by a National Tree Planting Day where every Ugandan is expected to plant a tree.

The 2021 Edition of the Run was launched virtually on March 21, 2021 by the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, in observance of the Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), to run virtually until May 31, 2021 via a mobile App dubbed ROOTs App Uganda to raise awareness and mobilize funds needed to procure, plant and maintain the 40million trees across the country.

The peak event for the Campaign will be the National Tree Planting Day slated for August, 2021 pending approval by Cabinet with the President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who is expected to be the Chief Planter.

Mr. Okidi noted that the tree planting is already ongoing following the rainfall calendar across the country.

“Trees will systematically be mapped for species, GPS location and planter to ease monitoring, maintenance, transparency and most importantly accountability. The planted trees will be mapped and that information relayed and stored to our central portal to enable real-time reporting and technical support teams to periodically follow up and support the maintenance .The planting has been spread to limit mass gatherings but the trees planted will be counted as part of the national tree planting celebrations” he added.

Since the ROOTs campaign is mainly anchored around private sector joining development partners in supplementing government efforts on the conservation and protection of mainly indigenous tree species being lost to different human activities, the campaign has received wide acceptance by some of Uganda’s biggest brands as we shall continue to unveil them in due course.

He said the ROOTs campaign provides a clear opportunity to document one’s aspirations towards Greenhouse Gas Emission reduction by enhancing carbon stocks through tree planting, while improving livelihoods as source of income and nutrition diversity; climate change resilience by mitigating against adverse weather elements likes storms, landslides, floods and lightning incidents; improving the water cycle; among others. The campaign is estimated to sequester about 15.7million metric tons of Carbon dioxide over the next 10years.

Mr. Okidi welcomed Mt. Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise (METGE) onboard and also thanked the Welsh Government and Size of Wale, a charity in particular the United Kingdom, the main donors behind METGE. The Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Water and Environment is committed to sustaining this collaboration.

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