Govt funds alternative livelihoods to save wetlands

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Environment minister Sam Cheptoris said the Government had come up with livelihood projects such as tree planting, beekeeping, construction of irrigation schemes as well as fish ponds at the edges of wetlands.

PIC: Environment minister Sam Cheptoris (right) interacting with the ministry’s director environmental affairs (right) during a guided tour of the Limoto swamp, where residents were being vacated to giveway for the restoration of wetlands. (Credit: Noah Jagwe)

ENVIRONMENT
                                             
PALLISA – Efforts to restore 150,000 ha of wetlands, 50,000 catchment areas across the country through livelihood projects have kicked off in Limoto parish in Palisa district, following a presidential directive.

The programme dubbed, Building Resilient Communities and Ecosystems through Restoration of Wetlands and Associated Catchments Project, is being implemented by the Government through the agriculture ministry and Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA).

The project is aimed at addressing the increasing wetland degradation, which has resulted in negative consequences which include floods, rising temperatures, loss of biodiversity, prolonged droughts and deteriorating water quality.

Over $244.2m has been earmarked to provide alternative livelihood for the people who will be affected by the restoration of the degraded wetlands and other catchment across the country.

Environment minister Sam Cheptoris said the Government had come up with livelihood projects such as tree planting, beekeeping, construction of irrigation schemes as well as fish ponds at the edges of wetlands.

Cheptoris said the Government is providing alternative means of livelihoods so that people quit the wetlands. For example, he said: “People can earn better profits from fishing than from rice grown in wetlands.

He added that in a bid to mitigate effects of drought, the Government was going to establish irrigation schemes to supplement other water sources.

The minister said irrigation scheme would be for high-value crops, but not for crops like cassava.

The project will be rolled out to other 20 districts; 10 in the east and 10 in southwest, including Ntungamo, Kabale, Kanungu, Kisoro, Rukungiri, Bushenyi, Rubirizi, Sheema, Buhweju.

Paul Mafabi, the director environment affairs and national project co-ordinator at the environment ministry, explained that the purpose of the project is to ensure that the people use the wetlands wisely. 

Other components of the project include, establishment of early warning systems to guide proper planning and climate information and micro and min-irrigation scheme using solar and other appropriate technology.

Mafabi said they had got experts on board to ensure quality value of servies.

NewVision.co.ug

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