According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, up to 40% of cultivated land in Rwanda is exposed to severe erosion and more investment in remedial measures is needed.
This means that hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers across the country could see their productivity drop if nothing is done to prevent soil erosion.
We have become accustomed to aerial images and images of “brown” water in rivers across the country, which shows how we continue to lose our fertile soils to erosion.
This despite years of decent effort in afforestation and reforestation programs, as well as other environmental protection and conservation initiatives.
Indeed, figures indicate that Rwanda has recorded a net increase in forest cover of 11 percent over the past ten years, helping to fulfill the country’s commitment to increase forest cover to 30 percent of the area. total land before the scheduled date.
In addition, Rwanda is on track to meet its own commitment to restore 2 million hectares of deforested and degraded land, a target set in 2011 with a view to achieving it by 2030.
Halfway through the implementation process, the country is around 45 percent after successfully restoring some 900,000 hectares.
However, thanks in part to population pressure and competition for limited resources, there are still cases of encroachment on forest lands and other protected areas, while land degradation remains a serious threat.
This requires sustained and coordinated multisectoral efforts at different levels of society to ensure that the country continues to make progress towards the restoration of deforested and degraded lands. This would not only improve the resilience of small farmers to the challenges associated with climate change and effectively enhance food security, while promoting sustainable development.
That’s why it’s important that we all embrace and actively participate in initiatives designed to help preserve and restore natural ecosystems, including the upcoming campaign to plant over 43 million trees, scheduled for next month.
According to the Minister of the Environment, there is a plan for each household to plant three tree seedlings.
Seedlings will be provided by the government and other licensed private stakeholders, but this effort will not be successful without the full participation of ordinary citizens and other residents at the community level.
It is indeed a noble cause that should be supported, not only during planting, but also in the maintenance of seedlings afterwards. Planting and preserving trees should be an integral part of our daily routine.