Home business ’Allow farmers to access water in forest reserves’ – MPs

’Allow farmers to access water in forest reserves’ – MPs

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Hon. Igeme Nathan Nabeta on the floor of a legislature during Wednesday February 7th plenary session(Photo/Courtesy)

The National Forestry Authority (NFA) has been urged to work with local communities in Nakasongola District to ensure proper co-existence with the forest reserve through mapping access routes to valley dams.

The Deputy Chairperson of the Committee on Environment and Natural resources, Hon. Nathan Nabeta said the move will enable pastoralist communities to access water dams for their animals and amicably resolve any cases of trespass that may arise rather than resorting to arrest and confiscation of cattle.

Nabeta made the committee recommendation while presenting the report on a petition on deprivation of fundamental rights and freedoms on natural resources and blockage of access routes to public water dams by the NFA and its agents in Nakasongola District.

In the report presented on Wednesday, 07 February 2024, it was observed that lack of clearly designated routes for movement of animals to the available valley dams puts farmers at a risk of trespass which is punishable by law.
“The committee recommends that the process of demarcation of the six metre routes along forest reserves be expedited to facilitate movement of animals to the various water points,” Nabeta said.

He added that farmers should not trespass on private property given that it goes against the law, noting that defaulters should be held accountable.

Hon. Noah Mutebi (NRM, Nakasongola County) said some valley dams have been fenced off which has limited access to the water points that are situated in the forest reserve.
“We discussed with NFA officials to open up some of these areas and a few were made accessible but they have denied access to communities in other areas. The community is ready to offer land to the Ministry of Agriculture where they can excavate more valley dams,” Mutebi added.

Hon. Victorious Zawedde (Indep., Nakasongola District Woman Representative) said most valley dams established by government are situated in forest reserves.
“Government injected a lot of money into these facilities but the communities cannot utilise them. We need to create space for our people to get access to clean water,” Zawedde noted.

The State Minister for Water and Environment (Water), Hon. Aisha Sekindi told the House that government is setting up bulk water initiatives that will improve water access to the local communities.
“We are getting water from Lake Kyoga which is going to serve Nakasongola and part of Nakaseke District,” Sekindi said.

AUDIO Nabeta

AUDIO Mutebi

AUDIO Sekindi

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