Rwandans have today planted over 30 million trees across the country in a community exercise conducted every last Saturday of the month.
Dr. Vincent Biruta, Rwanda’s Minister of Natural Resources, said, “I encourage all Rwandans to plant as many trees as they can to help prevent erosion and rehabilitate our natural forests.”
Currently Rwanda is in the middle of a rainy season.
The official launch of the (2015/16) planting season was held in Gatsibo District as the country celebrates the 40th anniversary of Forest Planting Season themed; “Efficient use of biomass energy to safeguard our forests”.
According to Rwanda’s Natural Resources Authority (RNRA), the planting season targets to use 66,000 hectares across the country representing 2.5% of the country’s total surface area.
Statistics from the Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV4) indicate that 98.5% of households in Rwanda use fuel wood and charcoal.
The government wants Rwandans to explore alternative sources of energy such as gas and solar but also cut down using charcoal.
“That percentage needs to be halved. We can achieve this by using biogas, LPG, improved cook stoves and other clean energy sources,” Dr. Biruta said.
Vulnerable residents of Gatsibo District have been given 19,000 improved cooking stoves.
Some districts including; Nyagatare, Ngoma and Kamonyi, have specifically began planting more than 40,000 fruit trees.
The Natural Resources Authority says bamboo trees are being planted in gullies to help rehabilitate degraded land across affected zones in the country. Trees are also being planted to rehabilitate forests on 1,010 hectares of public land.
During this season, RNRA say that new forest woodlots will be planted on 7,818 hectares and also over 49,000 hectares of agroforestry systems will be planted.
Rwanda’s total surface is covered by forests has increased from 28.8 % last year to about 29.3% this year. However, government is aiming at increasing to 30% forest cover by 2017.
Meanwhile, on June 5th, the World Environment Day was celebrated under the theme; “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”.