Palm oil growing in Kalangala a threat to people’s lives and the environment

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 | By

In 2006 Oil Palm growing started in Kalangala district. The growing of palm oil in the area came with the destruction of forests by both the company and out growers. Towa forest reserve was encroached on by the company and small scale farmers. Timber cutting and charcoal burning became order of the day in this forest. Many private forests were cleared and replaced by oil palm plantation chief among which were Lwonga, Buguzi, Bweeza, Bwendero, Kizira and Bbeta.
“The clearing of forests for palm oil growing has far reaching adverse effects on the environment and the environment is life”, says Ms. Joan Akiiza, the Legal Officer at National Association of professional Environmentalists, NAPE. NAPE has been working in this area with community members to ensure that palm oil growing does not completely destroy the environment.
David Kureba, the Programme officer in charge of forests at NAPE believes if palm oil growing is not checked, the forest cover in Kalangala might be history. He says the destruction of forests has a direct bearing on the lives of the people in the area.
“Forests are responsible for rain formation and are vital for crop production. This continuous cutting of forests will a cause food crisis here”, explained Mr.Kureba.
The chemicals that are sprayed in palm oil plantations end up in the water sources.
Fire wood has become a challenge since most forests were cut. Women trek considerably long distances looking for firewood.
Food security is at stake since many land owners turned their into palm oil plantations. This has greatly affected food crop growing. Salongo ‘Jim Jim’ Jagenda, a crop farmer explains the gravity of the problem.
“Most people here are now getting food from Kampala and Masaka since there isn’t any land for cultivation here”, explained Mr. Jagenda.
A palm oil growing project has been presented by proponents as source of income. However, environmental degradation concerns and land grabbing continue to dominate discussion in this area.
In May 2013, Friends of the Earth International released a report indicating that the palm oil project was being promoted as a poverty-reducing endeavor, yet it was causing displacement, food insecurity and deforestation.