Uganda Breweries Limited has launched a campaign that seeks to rally Corporate Companies to come together and respond to the growing concern of deforestation in the country, in a bid to foster sustainable development and production
The campaign, dubbed “Running Out of Trees” will feature a 2-day relay from Kampala to Gulu, a 330 km awareness run, peaking with a National Day of Tree Planting in April 2020 under the theme “40 million trees in 8 hours”.
Every person in Uganda is expected to plant and grow at least one tree. In the run, 33 influential runners; both professional runners and volunteers from corporate companies will participate.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Alvin Mbugua the Managing Director of Uganda Breweries Limited said that they have decided to take this campaign to private companies because not only do they have the resources, their activities also inadvertently contribute to this challenge.
“A thriving environment is something all private companies have in common. We benefit from it in our production or economic processes. It therefore makes sense that private companies come together to ensure that we fiercely protect and preserve the environment through tree planting,” Alvin Mbugua the Managing Director of Uganda Breweries Limited.
The statistics are disconcerting, he said, adding that an average 122,000 hectares of forest cover is lost every year due to human activities.
“The Ministry of Water and environment has an ambitious goal of planting over 100 million trees by the end of next year. We recognize that as a company, it is going to take combined effort. This is why we are coming together to rally other corporate companies to lend their support to this noble cause.” he said.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Water and Environment Alfred Okot said, that whereas, the Ministry is already implementing restoration interventions through a number of development projects out of the need to engage far and wide, the ministry is embarking on broad “National Greening Campaign”.
Some of the development projects include Farm Income Enhancement and Forest Conservation Project (FIEFOC), Sawlog Production Grant Scheme (SPGS), Reducing Emissions from deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) among others.
Okot says the campaign will involve engaging local stakeholders in attaining national restoration goals, through increased public awareness and participation in the conservation and protection of mainly indigenous tree species to address ongoing loss and conversion of primary and secondary natural forests.
“It is designed to adopt 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,” he said.
He said the “Running Out of Trees” campaign is one step towards mobilizing corporate entities to occupy their seat at the high table of protecting and restoring our national tree cover in the midst of rising global temperatures.
Current national deforestation rates stand at 2% annually with an average of 122,000 hectares lost every year. Tropical high forests that house a diversity of species are targeted for infrastructure development and illegal encroachment.
Peter West, British High Commissioner to Uganda too pledged his support towards the campaign.
“If I am to participate in the 2-day relay, I will need to start practicing now. However, I see the scale of ambition of this campaign, and I pledge my support,” the Ambassador said.
The Annual National Day for Tree Planting under the theme ‘Plant 40 million trees in 8hours’ is intended to close part of this gap, with indigenous trees and fruit. The mass tree planting drive will facilitate access to free good quality tree and fruit seedlings, promote other benefits of trees and motivate the public to contribute to environment conservation.
The project is expected to increase the tree cover across the country by imparting the culture of tree planting and nurturing eventually reducing on climate change impacts like landslides, storms and floods, lower temperatures, increasing farm productivity and providing favourable weather conditions among others.
Uganda Breweries Limited will through this relay throw a spotlight and work hand in hand with the Ministry of Water and Environment, partner agencies and corporate Uganda to lobby for gazetting land for the communities to have nursery beds and to plant trees and to raise money to develop and run a campaign in collaboration with NFA on alternatives to charcoal.
There will be 33 high profile and diverse runners run 10 kilometres each, totaling to a 330km distance. Each runner may be accompanied by other runners but not one of the 33. The run will be non stop running day and night with the estimated time of 33 hours.