The National Forestry Authority (NAFA) and Central African Region Programme for Environment (CARPE), have expressed concern over the big number of people still using firewood as the main source of energy in Rwanda.
At a meeting organized by NAFA together with CARPE to discuss the nature of the country’s forests, it was revealed that 90 percent of the population still depends on firewood for cooking.
The Director of Forestry Field Prograames Unit at NAFA, Dismas Bakundukize, said human activity is still hampering forestry development, as people were felling trees for firewood
“Rwanda has a deficit of 8.5 million trees per year indicating that we are still below the international standard of1.8 hectare which one person should have,” said Bakundukize.
“If this deficit is not fought, it will lead to desertification,” Bakundukize warned.
Currently only 533,000 hectares is covered by forests, equivalent to 20 percent.
Bakundukize revealed that by 2013, over 237,040 more hectares of land will be covered with trees and the target is at least 750,000 hectares by 2020.
The President of CARPE Rwanda, Thadee Habiyambere, said in an interview that several public awareness campaigns had been conducted to sensitize people on the value of forests.
“CARPE recognises the importance of forests; that’s why each year it sets aside US $450,000 to conserve forest reserves in Central Africa,” Habiyambere added.
CARPE is an initiative by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), aimed at promoting sustainable natural resource management in the Congo Basin and operates in nine countries.