“Our business survives only when there are trees. However, as more and more trees have been cut without replacements, the harder our lives have become. Very soon we may run out of business as trees have almost been depleted,” said Robert Obbare, the chairman of JICTA.
Obbare was recently addressing about 200 members of JICTA at Masese community centre during their meeting to review the progress and objectives of their association which started two years ago.
Obbare urged his colleagues to wholeheartedly receive the idea of tree planting. He received overwhelming support from members.
“We need trees more than anything else because its the basis upon which our business thrives. I suggest that each one of us owns a tree plantation of not less than 400 trees and the message will be received by the public,” added Moses Dhabangi, a perennial charcoal trader along Kutch road in Jinja town urged his colleagues.
The meeting was among others attended by the police liaisons officer for Kiira region Abdullah Mpanuka who challenged members to use their association to lobby for support from government and other institutions and organizations.
“Government is willing and ready to support your struggle for environmental conservation since it has been a public outcry of depletion of trees due to charcoal burning, ” the police officer said.
Mpanuka commended JICTA for supervising and sorting out all charcoal that comes to the market to ensure it meets quality before it’s sold out.” He said: “You do not only safeguard charcoal users but also ensure security since people who used to hide arms under charcoal can no longer do it.”
JICTA spokesperson Hussein Tenywa says the association that started with only vendors in and around Jinja now boasts of 300 members from the neighbouring districts of Kamuli, Kayunga, Buyende and Buvuma.