The 44th edition of Tree Planting Day will be held on November 9 in Rukumberi Sector, Ngoma District.
This year’s theme is: “Forestry for community livelihood.”
Jean Pierre Mugabo, the Head of Forestry Department Unit at Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority, told The New Times that they chose Eastern Province because it has a particular problem.
“The whole Eastern Province, in particular, needs a lot of efforts because they have fewer forests than any other province in the country,” he explained.
Rukumberi, with a population of around 33,000 and surface area of 86 km2, is a place dominated by banana plantations but with shortage of forests, the main source of cooking firewood and charcoal for many people in rural areas.
Venuste Habiyaremye, Forestry Officer in the sector, said: “We have a big problem of lack of forests in Rukumberi, but we have set up mitigating measures in partnership with the district”.
Last fiscal year, trees were planted on more than 1,400 hectares and the current year, the plan is to plant on 456 more hectares.
There are “only” about seven hectares of the government’s eucalyptus forests, and 50 hectares of buffer zones surrounding the Rukumberi waters where palm trees and other varieties such as grevillea, jacaranda, are grown.
“All those trees are not for residents’ firewood in any case,” he pointed out.
“It may be impossible to convince people to grow forests instead of other crops, but planting ‘agroforestry’ trees that can be compatible with the crops in a farm can work,” he suggested.
Although users of cooking gas and biogas are still lower than 5 per cent of the population of Rukumberi, it is not safe with the cattails and the marshland either.