The head Kalangala palm out grower’s cooperative association, Salongo David Balilonda reveals that district authorities together with the national palm oil project are developing a remote sensing App that will be used to monitor all the natural resources in Kalangala district as a way of increasing protection of the God given resources.
According to Salongo, the district has over the years seen a fast decline in forest cover to illegal act like charcoal burning, cutting timber, and clearing forests for agriculture and construction which pauses a threat to the environment in the area and district.
The new App under offing will be manned by Salongo David on a computer with a satellite linked system to monitor and alert in case of any illegal activity is happening in forests and the lake.
He further states that the App is part of the many projects implemented by the national palm oil project to save the district from environmental degradation.
Salongo who was speaking in a consultative meeting with EMLI and Care International which seeks to find how the oil palm project is protecting the environment in Kalangala, he confirmed that the current Kalangala is completely different from the previous in regards to the forest cover.
“Currently, Kalangala has tremendously lost its forest cover to palm oil tree growing, charcoal burning, timber making, gardening and housing.” According to Salongo, this has spoilt the beauty of the 85 island district.
But the natural resources officer for Kalangala district, Saawo Harriet warns that the growing pressure put on the surviving forest reserves on the island by the communities is scaring their existence.
Harriet continued to state that communities can hardly listen to what the experts tell them in regards to the continued degradation of the remaining central forest reserves on the islands which has worsened the forest situation in the district.
Willy Katai Ssalongo and Babirye Deborah all palm tree farmers on Bugala island in Kalangala district confirm that they exchanged huge acres of their land for palm tree growing which left them almost with no land to grow food as well as practice other economic activities. This has forced them to start using some of the remaining forest land to earn a living by doing farming, charcoal burning, timber making among others.
The now happy palm farmers vehemently revealed to the consulting team determinants of weather in Kalangala are not by forests but by the surrounding lake (Victoria). This statement from farmers was was repeatedly made during the meeting giving an impression that the farmers don’t really care about the existence of forests on the 85 islands which make up Kalangala district.
Meanwhile, good news is that the district natural resources office is carrying out tree distribution to willing farmers to grow them on the remaining public land to help protect the environment from the likely destruction.