City of Kigali officials have urged people to plant more trees after revealing that they spend Rwf1.5billion to contain flooding caused by degraded forests on the hills of Kigali, Rebero and Jali.
Parfait Busabizwa, the vice mayor in charge of economic development said considering that such flooding causes loss of life and destruction of property , it requires mitigation measures including planting trees and drainage channels to reduce the pressure of rainwater.
He was speaking during the launch of tree planting season during the monthly Umuganda (community service) in Kicukiro district.
“Forests have been degraded on the hills of Rebero, Kigali and Jali which triggers flooding in the city. Unplanned settlement is also another problem however we are encouraging people to comply with the master plan as we move to restore degraded forests and contain emerging disasters such as flooding that cause life and economic losses,” he said.
According to a survey conducted in 2015, businesses around Nyabugogo, Gatsata and other water catchment areas in Kigali leads to losses of Rwf Rwf178.2 million annually in direct and indirect damages due to floods.
To avoid such effects in the City of Kigali, 85.5 hectares of classic forests, 989.5 hectares of agroforestry trees and 50,820 fruits trees have to be planted from September 2018 to April 2019 while forest rehabilitation on Mount Kigali, Mount Jali and Mount Rebero will collectively be carried out on 3, 34.4 hectares according to Prime Ngabonziza, the Director General of Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority.
The mayor of Kicukiro district, Dr Jeanne Nyirahabimana said 9,900 hectares are dedicated to fruitful trees in the whole district with a target to eradicate malnutrition while 180 hectares of agroforestry , 30 hectares of woodlots, 175 hectares of degraded forest lands are for rehabilitation on Mount Rebero in Kicukiro district.
National forest coverage
“We have tree seed centers that produce seedlings to increase forest cover at national level where we plan to plant 38,119 hectares of agroforestry, 4,800 hectares of classic forestry and 225,440 fruit trees this fiscal year,” he said.
Under the National Strategy for Transformation, Rwanda aims to increase forest coverage to 30% which equals to 714,102 hectares and sustain this level.
Currently, the country’s forest coverage is equivalent to 29.8 per cent, of which plantation forests occupy 17.9 per cent and natural forests comprise 11.9 per cent.
“Of the forests that mitigate climate change and adapt to disasters such as flooding and drought, we are mixing agroforetry and fruitful trees so as to improve nutrition in the families and we have to sustain the planted trees through joint collaboration of citizens, stakeholders and leaders,” he said.
He added that there should be at least 150 agroforestry trees per one hectare but there is still only 20 agroforestry trees per one hectare.
The Minister in charge of cabinet affairs, Marie Solange, Kayisire said that in general, 300 cubic meters of trees should be harvested per one hectare but only 50 per is produced per hectare.
“We also urge concerned institutions and stakeholders to scale up use of cooking gas so as to reduce pressure on forests and those forests must be well conserved,” she said.
This fiscal year, Rwandans are encouraged to plant ornamental trees in their gardens and fruit trees around their homes and agricultural lands to contribute to food security.
Ornamental trees will be planted in urban areas and IDP model green villages and along roadsides.
Special attention will be being given to the City of Kigali and Eastern Province due to shortage of forest cover in these areas.
From September 2018 to April 2019, through Umuganda, special attention will be being given to the City of Kigali and Eastern Province due to shortage of forest cover in these areas.
In the Eastern Province, where the forest cover is low compared to the other parts of the country, 28,002 ha of agroforestry, 4,255 ha of classic forest and 68,788 fruit trees will be planted.