A group of environment conservation activists have announced a series of activities aimed at mobilizing Ugandan to boycott Hoima Sugar Limited products over the company’s stance on Bugoma forest.
Hoima Sugar Limited was given nine square miles which was part of Bugoma forest to grow sugarcanes, a move that has not augured well, especially with conservationists and tourism enthusiasts.
Addressing journalists on Sunday, Dickens Kamugisha, the chairman of the Save Bugoma campaign said their efforts to speak to the sugar company over the forest have proved futile, adding that they have been forced to move a step further.
“Hoima Sugar Limited has ignored calls from Ugandans to stop cutting down the forest. It is very unfortunate that the company is rapidly shaving down the forest to plant sugarcanes by fronting the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment certificate from NEMA yet we have challenged it in court,” Kamugisha said.
“We have been left with no choice but urge Ugandans, traders, banks, markets and the world at large not to buy Hoima sugar and other products from the company because owners have adamantly refused to heed to calls to desist from destroying the environment.”
According to Sam Mucunguzi from the Citizens; Concern Africa, 1.8% of Uganda’s forest cover is lost every year and that in the past 20 years, 25% of the country’s forests have been cut down.
“We can’t afford to lose such a tropical forest that is of great benefit to the country and continent at large during such a time when we are advocating against climate change,” Mucunguzi said.
“It is a shame that someone wants to destroy a forest but thinks their children will have a bright future when the environment is destroyed. We can’t stoop so low like that.”
Mucunguzi said it makes no sense for the country to be discussing eco-tourism when a forest which contributes greatly to tourism is being put down.
“Why should such a rare tropical forest go down for ridiculous reasons like growing sugarcanes yet Busoga region which has been engaged in the same business has not benefitted much from the growing of sugarcanes? We are mobilizing the public to boycott Hoima Sugar products and also isolate employees of the company.”
The activists also condemned Police and army presence in the forest to guard interests of the sugar company.
“The speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga and other MPs should come out to condemn the cutting down of the forest. This concerns everyone not only us,” Mucunguzi said.
NEMA recently cleared Hoima Sugar Limited to use the forest reserve for sugarcane growing when it issued a certificate of approval for the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment report.
Efforts to get a comment from Hoima Sugar Limited officials about the matter were futile.