The community has been called upon to take the responsibility of planting trees in their neighbourhoods as a contribution to the government’s target to make the country green.
The call was made Saturday by the Minister of Lands and Forestry, Francine Tumushime, when she joined Rotarians and residents of Kicukiro District in a special community service during which 6,000 trees were planted on an area stretching five hectares on Mount Rebero.
“It is an activity we can carry out without relying on budgets and everyone’s contribution is needed to reach the target.”
The activity was part of the 2017/18 tree-planting season campaign, launched on October 28 by Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente during the monthly Umuganda in Nyagatare District where over 50,000 trees were planted on 30 hectares.
The campaign is being supported by Water for Growth Rwanda, a four-year joint Rwanda-Netherlands initiative aimed at improving effective management of water resources in the country.
Tumushime said children should be educated on the importance of trees and encouraged to plant them at an early age so they grow up knowing the impact it has on protecting the environment.
“Parents and schools are responsible for educating children about the importance of trees. They should grow up knowing the role trees have in protecting the environment,” she said.
Tumushime assured that tree seedlings are available for free as a means of encouraging the culture of planting them.
Rwanda targets to plant trees on 30 percent of the country’s total area by 2020. So far 29.6 percent is already covered.
Parfait Busabizwa, the vice mayor for economic development and finance at the City of Kigali, cautioned residents to avoid cutting down trees and instead increase their interest in planting more on a larger area.
“Efforts towards planting trees should not be overlooked because people have got to know how important trees are in fighting soil erosion and degradation. Penalties are there for those who insist on cutting trees and forests,” he said.
Paul Birungi Master Jab, the assistant district governor of Rotary Club Virunga, which participated in planting trees at Rebero, revealed that Rotarians worldwide are supposed to plant a tree in their neighbourhood, adding that they are committed to contributing to making the country green.
“As we continue to contribute to different government’s development initiatives, planting trees is among our priority activities this year and we are committed to continue planting them not only here (at Rebero) but also elsewhere to make sure we live in a drought-free country,” Birungi said.
It is expected that a total of 45 000 hectares under agroforestry and 3,253 hectares of forest trees will be planted, while 768 hectares of degraded forests will be rehabilitated across the country, according to the Ministry.
The government has injected over Rwf1.3 billion to districts to be used to support tree and forest planting programmes across the country.