Rwanda Plans to Boost Forest Cover

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The government wants Rwandans to explore alternative sources of energy such as gas and solar but also cut down using charcoal

Rwanda will plant millions of trees in the next three years, as it tries to restore dwindling forest cover to 30 percent by 2020.

The East African country has set the target of 30 per cent of national forest coverage by 2020- currently Rwanda’s forest cover stands at 28 per cent.

The government and its stakeholders are putting together the document named “Agroforestry strategy” that will guide government to increase forest coverage from 2 per cent up to 85% by 2030.

The strategy is aimed to support the country to meet the forest restoration of two million hectares of land cover by 2020, as part of the Bonn Challenge while a global aspiration is to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded lands by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.

According to the agroforestry strategy document a waiting cabinet approval will guide the government in EDPRS 3 indicates that agroforestry trees can provide particularly firewood, fuel, timbers, poles and stakes for climbing beans, fruits and nuts, fodder, fertilizers among others.

However, the forestry sector faces challenge including increasing population for instance, population density stood at 183 people per square km in 1975 and rose to 415 people in 2012 according to population censuses.

The problem of agroforestry is acute in the Eastern Province compared to other parts of the country where pastoralists own big cattle farms void of agroforestry trees, said Dr. Athanase Mukularinda, International Center for Research and Agroforestry (ICRAF) country representative.

“Our aim is to plant trees in our forest reserves but also to encourage those who own private land to plant,” Mukularinda

Food and Agriculture Organization-FAO allocated for $5 million funds for support agricultural national projects in two years and minimal budget to fund agroforestry can’t be less than $ 1 million in two year period, says Dr. Otto Muhinda Vianney, Assistant Representative to Rwanda.

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