The Ministry of Environment together with different partners has officially launched the forest planting season 2019/2020 in Ngoma Distrist, Eastern Province this 9 November 2019.
The 44th forest planting day anniversary and the launch of Forest Planting Season 2019/20 took place in Rukumberi Sector under the theme “Forest for Community Livelihood” where agroforestry trees were planted on 80 hectares of consolidated land.
The forest planting season is an opportunity to raise awareness among the communities of the importance of forests in general and their role in the economic growth in particular.
Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr Geraldine Mukeshimana urged the citizens to take into consideration the contribution of forests in their wellbeing though minimizing the risks of drought especially in the Eastern region.
She said: “Forests are of great importance as you know trees renew our air supply and they contribute to the economy of people and development of the country in general. We urge you to make effort in trees planting and protect them from domestic animals until they grow. Planting trees may be the solution to drought you used to face in last years.”
Rwanda wants to reach its goal of increasing forest cover to 30% of total land area by 2020 but the study conducted by the National Institute of Statistics, Ministry of Environment and other partners recently revealed that around 724 hectares (30.4 per cent of the surface of the country) is covered by forests, Minister Geraldine has explained.
In Ngoma District, the smallholder farmers forests cover 5605 hectares compared to 2650 hectares of forests owned by government entities.
Agroforest trees are planted on 2348 hectares in this district, but the district targets to plant 7792 fruit bearing trees in 2019/ 2020, the Mayor, Nambaje Aphrodise said.
However, the lack of seeds, climate change and insects such as ants that destroy trees especially eucalyptus species remain the challenges in forest planting and management, according to Mayor Nambaje.
“Our target is to plant five kinds of trees to each household and we ask the citizen to not continue using only trees while cooking, they can use biogas and cost-effective stoves.”
Ngoma District stands on 12 per cent of its surface covered with forests. Much efforts from the government, partners and the local people are needed to bring about change, the Permanent Secretary Mininfra, Fatina Mukarubibi said.
“We have to join hands with the District officials to start a special programme of forest planting in this part of Eastern Province. We‘ll choose species that can adapt and be productive in the region to reduce the impact of drought on economic development as it happened in last years.”
In 2016/2017 Ngoma District faced the lack of rain which led to the decrease of food. Agroforestry trees were planted today on 80 hectares in Rukumberi Sector that include fruit bearing trees which will contribute to fight malnutrition among families.