Persons affected by the Oil pipeline project in Kiyuni village, Mulagi Sub County in Kyankwanzi district are concerned over the exhaustion of the Environment and household livelihoods in the name of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline project.
The Project is expected to run through 10 districts of Uganda from Kibaale parish, Buseruka Sub County in Hoima through Kyankwanzi and other districts, transverse Tanzania.
Whereas Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the EACOP – a process that evaluates the potential social and environmental impacts of a given project and their mitigation measures was conducted, the PAPs say they are encountering a stall environmental and livelihood practices.
The ESIA studies for the EACOP were conducted around the crude oil export pipeline route (from Uganda’s Kabaale parish, Buseruka Sub County in Hoima district to Chongoleani peninsula, north to Tanga port in Tanzania).
Betty Namugwanya one of the affected PAPs from Kiyuni village, Mulagi Sub County in Kyankwanzi district hopes that the idea of barring them from carrying out any farming activity on the land can be withdrawn because it has greatly impacted the Environment through tree cutting to earn a living.
“The indigenous trees that were used to mitigate effects of environment degradation have been cut down to boost household income of the community since we are not supposed to continue cultivating perennial crops” Namugwanya explains.
She says that although she only had a plot of land, it was helping by means of enhancing her income especially through her small scale farming activities of planting organic food stuff that she normally sells to the community members.
The Chairperson in charge of the PAPs and the affairs of the community in Kiyuni village, Kyankwanzi district, David Kakumirizi said that the area has been conserved with good indigenous trees species like Taminalia, mivule and others but were all depleted by both EACOP projects activities and the residents.
“The community resorted to cutting down the trees for charcoal, firewood and timber because all their means of livelihood were hampered by the project that is why they are destroying the environment while awaiting for compensation” says Kakumirizi.
In spite of the above, they are also committed to minimizing any unavoidable impact to ecosystems, biodiversity and local communities, restoring and rehabilitating impacted areas hence offsetting significant residual impacts
Project Affected Persons (PAPs) in Kyankwanzi district have expressed anxiety about delayed Compensation for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) by the Government.
The East African Crude Oil Pipeline is a 1,443km crude oil export setup that will transport Uganda’s crude oil from Kabaale, Buseruka Sub County in Hoima to the Chongoleani peninsula near Tanga in Tanzania for export to the international market.
However, this major export system covers 296km in Uganda’s 10 districts of Hoima, Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Gomba, Sembabule, Lwengo, Kyotera and 1,147km in Tanzania.
The affected areas in Kyankwanzi include Kiyuni village in Mulagi Sub County and Kilasa village in Kisala Sub County, Kyankwanzi district that were previously demarcated for the Oil pipeline expansion.
However, the Project Affected Persons are pessimistic about the specific compensation rates and the when they will receive the benefits because they have not been addressed since their properties were valued.
David Kakumirizi, the Kiyuni village Chairperson disclosed that the deferment and lack of knowledge by the PAPs about compensation rates cripples the standards of living due to limited access to the demarcated land.
“We would rather find out about when we are getting compensated and by what amount because our properties were valued but we were neither briefed about the rates nor the timeframe for the imbursement” says Kakumirizi.
Kakurumizi attributes the apprehension within the PAPs to possible communication gap between government and the community about compensation rates.
Frank Ssewankambo another affected person believes that his piece of land and farms that were valued would fetch him a lot of money, there is no information about the amount of money he will get after the ratings.
EACOP policy on Temporary or permanent land acquisition entails Securing agreements with each affected household, deliver compensation and livelihood restoration programs and help households move out of the area.
“The affected persons may seem impatient but they are right because government has not put a clear information about the benefits of the pipeline, more so, I don’t know what my valued property costs,” laments Ssewankambo.
Although the EACOP PAPs are doubtful about compensation, negotiations of the host Government Agreement for EACOP between Tanzania and Government of Uganda commenced in February 2018 and were concluded in September 2020 when the Agreement was signed after which the compensation of the PAPs will be implemented.
In December 2020, Ugandan Government stated that compensation of the project affected persons for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline will commence in January 2021 hence posing impatience amongst the affected communities since the schedule month of the said compensation has come to an end.
National Association of Professional Environmentalists, NAPE has contributed to Kiboga district COVID 19 Task Force to help fight against the Coronavirus.
NAPE, with support from Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, provided hand washing water tanks, Infrared thermometers, sanitizers and face masks.
The items were handed over to Hajji Umar Mawiya, Kiboga district Resident district Commissioner, who is also the Chairperson of district COVI 19 Task Force. Present at the handover was also the District Chairperson, Israel Yiga and the function was held at Community Green Radio Offices on May 21.
Frank Muramuzi, the NAPE Executive Director explained that the organization thought it wise to support the district that hosts the Community Green Radio as a way of helping communities prevent the spread of the virus.
“We got support from our development partners and secured these items and today we are handing them over to the task force for use by the listeners of the radio”, explained Mr. Muramuzi.
During the handover, Mr. Muramuzi also emphasized the need for promotion of environmental conservation by stopping encroachment on wetlands especially in the current situation where the country is experiencing floods and rising water levels especially at Lake Victoria.
The RDC Kiboga District Mr. Mawiya commended NAPE and Community Green radio for supporting the struggle in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic by donating and giving back to the community.
“This donation is timely. In our district budget, we had budgeted for only 2 infrared thermometers because these days they are very expensive. I want to thank you for giving back to community and having communities at heart,” said Mr. Mawiya.
Mr. Mawiya also applauded the radio for playing a great role in alerting the public about Covid-19 and Environmental conservation.
“We also want to thank you for being pro-community. Once you touch the environment, you have touched people’s lives”, he added.
The Kiboga district chairperson Israel Yiga also appreciated NAPE for the donation and applauded the radio for changing the mindset of the community about Environmental conservation, advocating for the rights of the masses through daily programmes that sensitize the public.
“The number of people and homesteads that have planted trees has greatly increased compared to previous days meaning that the community has greatly adopted the messages about conservation” said Yiga.
Rural farmers and producers are struggling to bridge the production and market gaps in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
According to farmers in Kiboga and Kyankwanzi districts that Community Green Radio interacted with, despite continued normality with their agricultural activities, the lock down has drastically limited the market for farm produce since buyers can’t go to distant markets and sellers can’t look for better markets.
They say, this, in addition to closure of markets, shops and hotels, has reduced revenues and impacted on daily wage workers and petty traders, making it difficult for farmers to buy inputs and sustain their livelihoods.
“Our livelihood is being affected by Covid-19 pandemic making it difficult to access sustainable income for our families. Before the country underwent the routine preventive measures of the curfew that starts from 7pm-6:30am, the lockdown and social distancing, some farmers used to carry out day to day vending and hawking of food stuff to earn a living,” explains Asuman Ssembatya, the Chairperson for Nabidondolo listeners’ club in Kyankwanzi district.
Charles Lubega another farmer from Wattuba Sub County says many farmers are finding it difficult to sell at a profitable price, especially perishable goods.
“By this time I would be selling fresh beans, tomatoes and even matooke sending them to Kampala vendors but most of the vendors that used to buy from me are crying of lack of money in addition to the COVID 19 measures,” explained Mr. Lubega.
However, Sara Kamyuka, a prominent matooke farmer in Kapeke Sub County in Kiboga district says farmers should think of new approaches to find markets and sell their produce like using Community Green Radio to look for customers and engaging in home deliveries.
New members of Community Green Radio listener clubs in Kyankwanzi and kiboga Districts have been enticed to engage in activities that promote environmental conservation and improved livelihoods.
During a meeting between Community Green Radio staff and Listeners from Lwamata, and Nabidondolo villages, the listeners said they are motivated to do more to conserve the environment and change their lives economically.
“Most of us were not aware of the values of conserving the environment and now the radio is opening our eyes to some of these things”, explained Joseph Kisuule a member of Lwamata listeners’ club.
Ms. Janat Kengonzi, the mobilize of Lwamata Listeners’ club says that apart from raising indigenous plant and tree seedlings, as a club they have also established a poultry project that has 15 active members.
“We are more than 15 members and every member has to bring a local breed of chicken to be considered active”, she explained to a Community Green radio reporter.
Asuman Ssembatya from Nabidondolo listeners’ club says the radio has mobilized communities towards working together. He believes working as group will quickly transform communities.
National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) through the various Community Green Radio programs encourages communities to engage in schemes that aid Environmental Conservation and activities that improve their household income and conserve the environment.
Richard Mugisha, the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa, OSIEA Country Director for Uganda has applauded the National Association of Professional Environmentalists, NAPE for the efforts exhibited towards empowering communities to conserve the Environment and ensure food security.
“I thank NAPE for empowering the communities in promoting food security through planting indigenous food crops and undertaking activities that help conserve the surrounding”, said Mugisha.
Mr. Mugisha made the remarks during the official opening of Butimba sustainability Conservation Association, BUSUCA’s offices earl August this year. The offices are in Butimba village, Kidoma parish in Kiziranfumbi sub-county Kikuube district.
Mugisha explained that the idea of engaging communities in cultivation of indigenous species of cassava, beans and maize, that are resistant to harsh climatic conditions, is the best for conservation purposes as well as storage to curb food crises.
At the launch of the offices, other sustainability School Village members who were present included Kabaale “Tugare E’byobuhangwa” Women’s group and Kigaaga Oil Region Women’s Drama Association (KORICWODA).
The communities have been facing significant negative impacts of oil and other related activities on food because of oil discovery in the region. There has been increased demand for food more than what the ecosystem can support yet the region has seen a large influx of many land grabbers.
Rev.Fredrick Musimenta, the Chairperson for BUSUCA explained that farming activities carried out by the association like Apiary, crop cultivation and forestry have not only helped in promoting food security and Environmental conservation but also improving household income.
“Apart from seed multiplication gardens we established as a group to aid indigenous types of plants, we also have natural tree nursery bed seedlings that can be planted to mark boundaries” explained Rev. Musimenta.
Meanwhile, Ms. Annet Kasoro the chairperson Kabaale “Tugare E’byobuhangwa” Women Association, a group that promotes indigenous seed restoration, revealed that the association is focused on reviving traditional millet, sesame, beans and maize and ensuring that every member has a granary.
“We predict the weather to ascertain whether or not it favors farming before we plant and after harvest, we preserve the seeds with ash and red pepper to keep them free from weevils then store them in the granary season to avoid hunger”, Ms. Kasoro explained.
Frank Muramuzi, the Executive Director of NAPE thanked the communities for being adherent to matters concerning the Environment and cultivate food for home consumption and called on them to use the radio for further conservation.
“I encourage you to continue using Community Green Radio-Kiboga to air out the issues affecting your community and continue practicing bee keeping, tree planting cultivating indigenous food species that aid conservation” said Mr. Muramuzi.
NAPE’s Sustainability School Program Manager Allan Kalangi explained the need for the communities to engage in sustainable activities that improve their livelihood, household income and practice what they are empowered to do through borrowing ideas shared during exchange visits.