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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Uganda: 88-Year-Old Man Plants Mega Forest

AT 88 years old, one would think Melchior Bakamuturaki would not consider investing in a forest that will mature when he is 100-if he makes it. But for this Bushenyi district Green, the passion for the environment is just beginning.

While many Ugandans shun tree business from which they believe they will never benefit in their lifetime, Bakamuturaki has planted six acres of trees and is looking for more land.

"I always had a liking for forests and now I have fulfilled my dream by planting a forest, which will mature in at least 20 years."

But there is an immediate gain from the investment. Bakamuturaki will make money from a new scheme in which farmers earn money from trees in a programme championed by a charity, the International Small Group and Tree-Planting.

"We have been working with farmers to plant trees that absorb carbondioxide emissions and reduce the risks of global warming," said Pauline Kalunda, the executive director.

"In return, the farmers earn money since their trees act as sinks for waste gases emitted by polluting industries," Kalunda says. The Bamuturaki initiative is good news as Uganda commemorates the World Environment Day today.

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