The Minister of Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, yesterday launched a new forest intensification programme, which is aimed at achieving a 30 percent forest cover in the country as provided for in Vision 2020.
The programme will help Rwanda to develop a green canopy over the entire land because more trees will be planted and in a “systematic way”, according to the minister, who said that the figure currently stands at 22 percent.
“Initially, it was projected at 30 percent by 2018, but it will be impossible if no intensified measures are taken,” Kamanzi, told The New Times.
“In the past, people planted one or two trees in their farms, but the same trees could ‘die’ because of lack of care. But, under this programme, we will plant large numbers of trees in consolidated sites and, even, in all farmlands”.
The two-year intensification programme will officially be launched on November 19, though implementation is already underway in some districts, according to the minister.
All districts are supposed to earmark specific hectares of land for tree planting “to create what will look like a forest there.”
The head of the National Forestry Authority, Frank Rutabingwa, disclosed that 67 million seedlings of various species were prepared for the programme, this year.
Thirty percent of them will be planted on hill tops while the rest will be in reserved sites, water banks, public places like parks along the roads and in people’s homes.
Areas that have experienced gradual extinction of the forest cover, like Gishwati Forest, will also see more seedlings of wild trees planted. At least 3,020 hectares of land within the forest will be reforested.
Kamanzi added that the tree planting activities will be championed countrywide by the Rwanda Reserve Force, owing to its vast manpower.
District Task forces, headed by vice mayors for Finance and Economic development, have also been set up to follow up on the growth of these trees. They will work alongside the military, the police, women groups, environmental organisations and several other stakeholders.