KIGALI - As the national ‘Tree Planting Week’ kicked off yesterday, Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF), led by the force’s top brass, planted about 15,000 trees worth Rwf 7m in Kami, Kinyinya Sector in Gasabo District.
The six hectare piece of land in Kami on which the trees were planted is owned by RDF.
The force was joined by hundreds of area residents, officials from the ministries of Local Government, Sports and Culture and Education.
The exercise was also attended by representatives from the national police, Bank Populaire, SONARWA, Community Development Fund (CDF) Social Security Fund of Rwanda (SSFR) and international Non-Governmental Organisations among others.
It was all smiles and dances from the area residents when the Minister of Defence, Gen. James Kabarebe, announced that the land be ‘temporarily’ ceded to the residents to carry out farming activities.
“We are giving you this land to use it for your own benefit, but in doing so, protect these trees that have been planted because they are important and a way of protecting our environment,” Kabarebe said.
He observed that since the tree planting exercise started in the country, a lot has been achieved, but noted that there is still need to plant more trees in several parts of the country.
He said that if the trees planted in Kami are well protected and grow, they will provide timber to facilitate programmes like the 9-Year Basic Education (9-YBE) and also support vulnerable groups living in the area.
He appealed to residents to make it a point to always plant trees, even in their homes and thanked them for their big turnup for the exercise.
“We have been facing shortage of land for our agricultural activities, for RDF to give us the land for free, it is an answered prayer,” said 52-year old Judith Mukakalisa, one of the area residents.
District Mayor, Willy Ndizeye thanked RDF for its support in various activities, saying that a nursery bed for trees valued at Rwf 30m had been prepared to be planted in the whole district.
About 44 million trees are scheduled to be planted countrywide during this week that is being marked under the theme; “Let us plant trees and protect them for enhanced harvest.”