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500,000 trees to be planted around urban centres

By Noah Jagwe

Added 28th October 2016 04:03 PM

The trees will include ornamental and fruit trees

The trees will include ornamental and fruit trees

Plans are underway to assess the current level of land degradation in the urban areas using Geographical Information System (GIS) and spatial remote sensing with an intention to thwart the increasing encroachment on forests and swamps nearby.

The exercise is part of the arrangement spearheaded by Mukono Zonal Agriculture Research Development Institute (MUZARDI) in partnership with National Agriculture Research Organisation (NARO), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), National Forestry Authority (NFA), Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), and Wakiso Local government and Entebbe municipality who will all lead a campaign to plant close to five hundred trees along streets in Wakiso and Kampala.

Decline in the overall quality of soil, water or vegetation cover is commonly caused by human activities such as settlement and farming.

"We believe that this partnership will help people mainly Kampala and Wakiso, the highly urbanized areas of Uganda minimize the Impact of degradation" Dr Beatrice Akello, Director of Research and Development MUZARDI said.

The United Nations Statistics indicate that over 52% of the world's population is urban dwellers and this is expected to reach over 67% by 2050.

The trees that will include ornamental and fruit trees will be planted along highways and in public and private permanent settlements.

The project dubbed sustainable land management will involve training of farmers in sustainable wetland use by setting up small irrigation schemes in Kampala and Wakiso, to lure them off wetlands destruction.

"Urban farming seems a permanent dynamic part of the socio-economic and ecological system therefore it's important for research to guide on the best practices" project coordinator and a NARO research scientist Stella Kabiri said.

The project will involve training town dwellers on how to use land sustainably to reduce contamination of local water sources and ensure appropriate urban agricultural practices.

Over 658 hectares of wetland have been encroached on in and around Kampala in the last 20 years alone.

Increasing urban population and settlement has had a negative impact on environment and land degradation for settlement and to meet the rising food demands and the population.

This world trend with Uganda inclusive has led to high encroachment on forests and swamps near an around the urban centres threatening sustainable growth of future cities.  

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