Sugar is political candy, the President cant resist dishing it out. Big time problem, gone are the days when the Presidents word moved the rural population, this is a new era now, every word the President says has to travel the super information highway and challenged by equally fast ideas. This is the time when the President has to make a big change, its high time he got rid of his hippee aged advisers whose advice is handicapped of reasons leading to all Presidents calls being chopped up by the hip hop face book activist aiming for his jugular.
Back to Mabira, sorry for the digression, there is a compromise but no one is talking about it and that is what I want to address. Off course this will not go down well for those who are championing the idea that the President is merely encroaching on Buganda’s land but anyways I will put it out for discussion.
Deforestation and canopy destruction can be disassociated or rebalanced. If I plant the same amount of trees as I destroyed the equation will be balanced I argue. That is the compromise. He who wants to destroy the forest must equally agree to plant the same number of trees he cut and it doesn’t have to be in the same region. The companies that want to plant sugar should be mandated to carry on a reforestation program at per with the destruction caused. Climate and trees is an issue of carbon sequestration and heat absorption. I believe a tree in isolation will do what a tree married in a canopy will do. A big Mabira forest can be compensated for by Mini-Mabira forests dispersed all over the country.
The issue of forest cutting is not going to be limited to this government alone, future governments will face this issue too especially with the rapid increase in population, need for socio-economic development programs, they will always be need for more land and just like all rain forests in the world are facing the world need for timber and more the enemies of the forests are here to stay. We need coordinated and environmentally sound development. We definitely have to get scientist think of the post mega rain forest canopy era.
The issue of the Mabira forest being the catchment area for Lake Victoria waters as the major argument from the activists is another disputable fact if you consider the fact that this lake receives most of its water direct from thousands of small streams the largest stream flowing from the Kagera River which originates in Burundi. So Lake Victoria is not going to dry.
So yes we can have both, the discussion should be geared that way, the activist reasons can be addressed as we meet the need for sustainable development.
Dr.Eddie Kayondo, M.D
Ugandan residing in USA