KAYONZA-Hundreds of residents and veterans Wednesday started planting trees on bare hills and mountains in Rwimishinya village, Kayonza District.
The tree planting exercise also attracted Lt Gen Fred Ibingira, Chief of Staff of the Reserve Forces.
According to the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, the Ministry entered into an agreement with veterans committing the latter to plant trees across the country.
He explained that veterans were entrusted with the activity because of their efficiency and cost effectiveness.
According to the minister, the veterans would plant over 140,000 trees in Kayonza district, adding that using veterans was quick and cheap, and that they had been doing commendable works in many other sectors.
“Planting trees in areas overwhelmed by wildfires or other natural hazards is crucial in restoring and improving the health of national forests and it helps reduce impacts of climate change,” said Kamanzi.
“It also helps preserve soil and water and enhances water quality, wildlife habitat, scenic values, and other ecosystem services”.
Oscar Nzabonima, a forestry specialist in the Reserve Forces, said that tree planting would be intensified across the country.
He explained that drought and disease resistant species were chosen to suit the climatic conditions of Kayonza.
“It is true that climatic conditions in the district are not so favourable...it also explains why Eastern Province is the most vulnerable. We, however, expect the trees to make a great impact,” he said.
Meanwhile, residents of Rwimishinya village expressed concern over increasing scarcity of firewood for domestic use.
Jean Marie Dukundumukiza, a resident of the area, told The New Times that there was great need to avail people with alternative fuel.
“Planting of trees is extremely welcome in our devastated village...it will however, take time to provide solutions for our suffering. We nowadays hardly access firewood for cooking,” he said.
Most hills in Rwimishinya village are uncovered with practically no trees.