By Libino Byamukama
Conservationists and political leaders in Kabale, Rubanda and Kisoro
Districts are accusing Rwandan nationals for stealing fertile soils from
Echuya Central Forest Reserve.
The concern was raised today during the sixth Biodiversity Conservation
Forum (BCF) conference for Echuya Landscape, which was organized by Nature
Uganda at Cephas Inn hotel in Kabale Municipality.
Conservation Forum was established in 208 under the People Partner with
Nature programme of Nature Uganda, funded by Birdlife Partner in Denmark
(DOF) with the objective of sharing lessons learnt, best practices and
achievement, challenges and opportunities for conservation in the landscape
of Kashyoha Kitomi Echuya.
The Executive Director of Nature Uganda, Achilles Byaruhanga, said that
Rwandans who border Echuya Forest Reserve especially in Kashasha parish in
Bufundi sub-county of Rubanda district have on several occasions crossed
into the forest to dig for fertile loam soil, which they take to use as
fertilizers and manure in their gardens back home.
He also accused some
National Forestry Authority (NFA) staff for conniving with locals to
carryout activities like deforestation, animal grazing and farming, which
threaten the forest.
The Kisoro District Chairperson, Abel Bizimana also blamed Sub County and
parish chiefs, plus security for failing to apprehend people who go
to destroy the forest. He called for joint efforts to protect Echuya Forest
Reserve for the future generation.
The Echuya Forest Reserve Supervisor, Hebert Turyahabwa, admitted that
Rwandans cross to Echuya forest and collect loam soil and humus for their
gardens. He however said that they are collaborating with the Uganda
Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) to intensify operations in the forest to