BUGISU: Kakira Sugar, Uganda’s leading sugar producer has joined efforts with the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) to combat the adverse impacts of floods in the Bugisu sub-region. In a concerted effort to conserve the environment, the two organizations have resumed their tree planting activities, aiming to plant over 50,000 grevillea trees over a 5 year period, starting with 10,000 trees this year.
This is in addition to the 15,000 trees that Kakira Sugar Works in collaboration with URCS planted in Busoga region (Iganga and Namutumba area) in 2022. This year, this tree planting initiative kicked off on Tuesday, 6 th June 2023 in Bungokho sub-county, Bushikori Parish, Nashikhaso village, located in the Mbale District.The team from Kakira sugar Limited and Uganda Red Cross Society pose for a group photo after the handover of the seedlings in Mbale.
The event was held at the Bungokho sub-county grounds and was attended by representatives from Kakira Sugar, including James Mawa, the Horticulture Superintendent, and Susan Gimbo, the Public Relations Officer.
The URCS team was led by Sarah Opimo Okello, an Environment Officer, and John Cliff Wamala, the Communication and PR Officer. Also present were Regina Mutuwa, Chairperson of the Mbale Disaster Risk Management Committee, and the village leadership of Nashikhaso village.
During the event, approximately 100 households at high risk of being affected by floods were provided with tree seedlings, with each family receiving five seedlings.
Ms. Regina Mutuwa, Chairperson of the Mbale Disaster Risk Management Committee addressing the participants.
Mutuwa expressed her gratitude to the URCS for their timely response whenever disasters strike and commended their proactive approach in mitigating potential disasters. “The selected families were those residing near the riverbanks of the Namaale River,” Matuwa said.
James Mawa, the Horticulture Superintendent at Kakira Sugar factory, addressed the participants, emphasizing the company’s commitment to changing the flooding narrative of the Bugisu region.One of the participants is seen planting a tree seedling after the distribution exercise at Bungokho subcounty grounds.
“Why should lives be lost during disasters? At Kakira we believe this can change and it is the reason why we have brought these seedlings. We have partnered with URCS to see that there is transformation,” Mawa said.
He explained that the partnership with URCS was instrumental in reaching the affected communities, and he encouraged the recipients to take care of the trees, assuring them of continued support.
Speaking to the participants, Mr. John Cliff Wamala, the Communication and PR Officer at URCS, highlighted that these activities were part of the World Environment month celebrations, with this year’s theme focusing on solutions to plastic pollution.
He emphasized the organization’s dedication to protecting the environment as a means of mitigating the effects of climate change.
“When we talk of saving lives, it doesn’t end at extending relief or being the first responders during disasters, but also mitigating and controlling the diversity of these calamities.” Wamala said.The team from Kakira, Susan Gimbo, the Public Relations Officer (left), Mr. James Mawa (2 nd left) officially handing over the seedlings to URCS’s John Cliff Wamala (center).
Following the launch, the teams proceeded to Nambiti B village, where they planted a woodlot consisting of over 100 trees. They then conducted a transect walk back to Nambiti A village, providing tree planting support to over 70 households residing along the banks of the Nambale stream.
The Bugisu sub-region, particularly the Mt Elgon region, has experienced a significant loss of vegetation cover due to population growth and unsustainable human activities. This ecological degradation has resulted in a surge of climate- related disasters such as heavy runoff, floods, and mudslides, with recent incidents occurring just two weeks ago.
In addition to the tree planting initiative, Kakira Sugar has also taken steps to protect the environment through sustainable management of its solid waste and the presence of green fields and trees in their Jinja and Kayunga estates, which help absorb carbon dioxide.
The joint efforts of Kakira Sugar and the Uganda Red Cross in addressing the environmental challenges in the Bugisu sub- region demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding lives and the natural ecosystem. The continued monitoring and assessment of the planted trees will contribute to long-term environmental sustainability and resilience in the region.
About Uganda Red Cross
Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) is a membership humanitarian organization incorporated in 1964, by an enactment of the Red Cross Act, Cap 57 of the laws of Uganda. Uganda Red Cross Society plays an auxiliary role to the Government of Uganda, to support humanitarian and emergency causes across the country in an impartial and independent manner, irrespective of race, nationality, ethnic background, political opinions or religious affiliations.
URCS currently has 500,000 registered members and volunteers countrywide with Fifteen (15) Million beneficiaries and people reached during the period 2020 – 2022.
About Kakira Sugar.
Kakira Sugar Limited is part of the Madhvani Group of Companies. It provides livelihood directly and indirectly to over 100,000 individuals, crushes over 6,000 tons of cane per day and produces more than 150,000 tonnes of sugar each year within only 10.5 months continuous operation. Kakira Sugar Limited employs over 7,500 persons and works with over 7,000 out grower farmers.