News Rwandans tipped on forest conservation

The Minister for Natural Resources, Dr Vincent Biruta, has urged Rwandans to take a lead in conserving forests and plant more trees if the country is to mitigate the growing effects of climate change.

Concerned URL http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2014-12-01/183594/
Source The New Times (01/12/2014)
Release date 02/12/2014
Contributor Lewis Mary Ndayisaba
Geographical coverage Rwanda
Keywords tree planting,

The minister was on Saturday speaking during the monthly community work, Umuganda, held in Kanama Sector, Rubavu District, during the official ceremony to mark the National Tree Planting Day.

Addressing residents, Minister Biruta said Rwanda, like the rest of the world, is facing challenges due to manmade activities such as deforestation, industrialisation that have escalated the effects of climate change.

“There is climate change in Rwanda as it has been the case in other countries, among the effects, there is an increase of temperature which have increased the rate of malaria incidence in the region, floods that cost lives and materials, industrialisation among other manmade activities which need to be controled,” Dr Biruta said.

He urged Rwandans to put more efforts in promoting agro-forestry adding that it has several advantages such as making the soil fertile, while the trees, once grown can be harvested for timber, construction materials among other advantages.

A total of 16,000 trees of Alnus type were planted in Rubavu, while millions of trees were expected to be planted countrywide.

The minister said among millions of tree seedlings that will be planted this year, 60 per cent of them will be of agro-forestry and fruit trees.

He said, currently, forests cover 28 per cent, while the plan is to have 30 per cent of the total soil planted with trees by 2017.

Energy saver cooking 

The minister also urged Rwandans to adopt biogas in cooking and construct energy-saver stoves to reduce the consumption of wood fuel.

“Let’s all adopt use of biogas in cooking, energy saving stoves and reduce the use of firewood to the possible level we can,” he said.

Biruta urged residents practicing livestock in the Gishwati area to plant trees as agreed with the government adding that once they don’t honour their commitment, they will lose the farms.

The Tree Planting Day was marked under the theme, “Enhancing climate resilience through agro-forestry.” Residents said they were ready to conserve forests and promote agro-forestry as they understood its significance.

“I always thought that trees affect other plantations and didn’t put more efforts in planting them, now that I understand the agro-forestry process, I am committed to plant more trees to benefit from them, I will also plant more fruit trees on my farm,” said Alphonsine Nyinawumuntu, a resident.

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