IN OFFING: Rangelands Management Policy To Address Degradation And Bio Diversity Conservation


KAMPALA- SHIFTMEDIA– A new policy that will protect Rangelands in Uganda and promote Biodiversity is in the offing.

Rangeland is a land on which the native vegetation is primarily grasses, grass-like plants, forbs, shrubs or woodlands suitable for browsing or grazing by animals.

The government has now come up with a Rangelands Management policy to address practices that have led to the degradation of the rangelands.

This policy in offing, according to Denis Mulongo Maholo the Principle Range Ecologist at the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) is also geared towards controlling encroachment of rangeland by investors and locals.

Mulongo was addressing stakeholders at an introductory meeting on legal and policy discourse on the management of Fragile Ecosystems in the Rangelands.

The meeting held at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala was organized by Food Rights Alliance (FRA) in collaboration with International Land Coalition through the Land and Equity Movement in Uganda (LEMU), who host the NES in Uganda.

He said the policy calls for a shift from nomadism to transhumance form of pastoralism that is organised around the seasonal migration of livestock and the people who tend them.

Most people who practice transhumance also engage in some crop cultivation, and there is usually some kind of permanent settlement.

“The policy seeks to address the challenge of balancing the diverse economic, cultural and social needs of rangeland residents and users with the need to maintain its natural resources and conserve the biological and cultural heritage,” said Mulongo.

According to statistics from MAAIF Pastoralists hold 80% of the national livestock herd including 90% of the cattle. Uganda Bureau of  Statistics (UBOS) 2020 report indicates that livestock contributes to 4.3% of the GDP.

Mulongo noted that the ongoing human activities has led to land conflicts especially among the pastoral communities in Karamoja.

“Signs of range deterioration and the harmful effects of climate change are increasing, thus leading to food insecurity, low productivity and low income,: he said.

M/s Lucy Iyango the Assistant Commissioner Wet Lands Department in the Ministry of Water and Environment said Government is committed to reserving the rangelands for their best use, but a policy is needed to protect the region from further degradation.

She noted that the policy offers a framework for sustainable management of range resources, with ideas on areas for investments, managing livestock numbers and their water.

Dr Doreen Kobusingye the Facilitator of National Engagement Strategy (NES) Uganda urged government to engage communities in decision making and range development process.

Kobusingye said the purpose of NES is to promote people-centred land governance. “This a policy change that we deserved in line with Uganda’s Vision 2040, that eases land access, control, ownership and conflict resolution,” she said.

Food Rights Executive Director Agnes Kirabo said: “The subject (Rangelands) that we have been discussing hasn’t been receiving much attention. Many people take rangelands as free land.” sustainable management of fragile ecosystems in those areas is very vital in building the resilience of rangeland communities in the wake of climate change.Kirabo noted that mismanaging them will create barriers towards the exploitation of the growth and development opportunities within those communities.

Brian Lucky Wamboka the Food Rights Alliance Programme officer Natural Resources and Rights said the meeting was to enhance the knowledge of influencers and leaders on the current legal and policy discourse for strengthened governance of fragile ecosystems in the rangelands. It was also meant to build an understanding of the current policy and legal discourse to consolidate the strengths, harness opportunities, manage risks and threats for sustainable management of fragile ecosystems in the rangelands,” said Lucky.
He noted the enhancement of knowledge and skills of leaders and influencers on the concept of rangelands and how they are managed is very key because these areas are environmentally constrained but they highly recognised for socio-economic contributions towards national development  including meat and milk production.

“We need to identify potential areas of engagement to inform policy change and improve sustainable use of natural resources in the rangelands,” said Lucky.

Shift Media News

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