NFA: Collaborative Forestry Management Yet to Bear Fruit in Bunyoro

2146 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
But Stewart Maniraguha, the NFA Kisindi sector Manager says, the arrangement is yet to achieve much as expected.

The Collaborative Forestry Management-CFM has failed to bear fruits in Bunyoro region. The National Forestry Authority-NFA introduced the CFM to help protect central forest reserves. Under the arrangement, the communities adjacent to the forest sign agreements with NFA to jointly manage the forest reserves.
The communities are allowed to undertake activities that do not harm the forests' existence. These include tree planting and bee keeping. In Bunyoro, Collaborative Forestry Management was launched about eight years ago.
Several groups were formed in Wairagaza, Kiziranfumbi and Buseruka sub counties around Bugoma central forestry reserve. There are also CFM groups in counties for the conservation of Wambabya Central Forest reserve also in Hoima district. Other CFM groups are in Budongo sub county, Masindi district for the management of Budongo forest.

But Stewart Maniraguha, the NFA Kisindi sector Manager says, the arrangement is yet to achieve much as expected.  Maniraguha says this is because CFM groups always breach the conservation agreements and destroy forests instead.

He says the communities are heavily engaged in agriculture and illegal lumbering as opposed to conservation. He cites Kidoma Community Conservation. Development Association-KICCODA, a CFM group in Kiziranfumbi sub county, which he says has done less work in conserving the reserve, prompting NFA to suspend their activities pending review of the agreements.

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NFA together with the Hoima district Forest and Environment Conservation Taskforce is currently on a campaign to flush out forest encroachers. The campaign has kicked off with sensitization meetings to enable the encroachers leave voluntarily. 

But in the meetings so far held, many of the encroachers still want to partner with NFA in conserving the forests, other than being evicted. During a meeting on Wednesday last week, encroachers on Kandanda Central Forestry Reserve in Kyabigambire Sub County pleaded with the forestry authority to leave them in the reserve so that they can continue planting trees.

Led by Robert Mwanga, the Kihimya village chairperson, the residents asked NFA to secure them tree seedlings so that they could engage in serious tree planting. But Maniraguha insists the residents must convince NFA they will follow the set guidelines and not hide under the CFM cover to continue destroying the forest.

Ambrose Mwesigye, the Hoima Deputy RDC and chairperson Hoima district forestry and environmental conservation task force says all they want is to see the destroyed forests re-generate through planting trees. He says residents' demands to be allowed to plant trees in reserves, is a timely idea but only if they can respect the CFM agreements signed with NFA.

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In Bunyoro forests have been heavily depleted by encroachers. The affected forests are Bugoma, Kangombe, Bujaawe, Wambabya and Kasoingoire.


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