GULU-Eco-ways Uganda and Tree Nation, all concerned with environmental conservation, have partnered to introduce the commercial planting of bamboo in Acholi Sub-region under the carbon credit programme.
The 25-year partnership will see the two organisations support local farmers with techniques used to grow bamboo whereby successful farmers will earn US$ 250 [about Shs 925,000] per acre annually.
The farmers will still use the bamboo trees for charcoal and poles among other purposes, which, according to the two partners [Eco-ways Uganda and Tree Nation] will help save the cutting of indigenous trees.
Timothy Jokene, the executive director Eco-Ways Uganda said the partnership seeks to prevent indiscriminate cutting of trees for commercial charcoal trade, timber, and agricultural practices among others.
According to a recent report authored by Greenwatch Uganda, the districts of Gulu, Pader, Agago, and Kitgum lost combined 42,114 hectares of tree cover between 2010 and 2021 with Gulu district losing 38,700 hectares.
Jokene said apart from providing charcoal and poles, bamboo trees have over 10, 000 other benefits, adding that the carbon credit programme where farmers earn money from growing bamboo will boost the activity in Acholi Sub-region.
“Bamboo grows very fast, and we want to ease the pressure on the other natural tree species but we also want to see that the afforestation process is not interrupted,” Jokene said.
According to Jokene, the programme targets 10,000 farmers per district in Acholi Sub-region. Each farmer is expected to provide a hectare of land for bamboo planting.
In a recent interview, Michael Malinga, the Uganda national coordinator for the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation [INBAR], only a few farmers are planting bamboo trees despite the industry having an estimated global market of US$ 60 billion.
According to Malinga, planting and managing bamboo could contribute an estimated 15 percent towards Uganda’s goal of restoring 2.5 million hectares of forest cover by 2030, of which about 28 percent will be on government land and the remaining on private land.
The Ministry of Water and Environment estimates in the short run, planting bamboo trees help create 150,000 full-time jobs, producing 140mln bamboo poles each year.
In the long term, the enterprise could lead to the creation of 700,000 full-time jobs, 230,000 hectares of bamboo planted on farms, and 60,000 hectares of regenerated natural bamboo forest.
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