The illegal trade in timber remains a matter of great concern in the Rukungiri district. The district leaders are now warning timber dealers against encroaching on government forest reserves.
Despite concerted efforts by local leaders and relevant environment bodies to address illegal trade in timber, the problem still persists.
This is now a cause of worry for local leaders in the Rukungiri district. The district leaders led by the LC 5 chairperson Charles Katebire however pin timber dealers of continuous encroachment on government forest reserves.
He says the wood pirates have continued to use the Covid-19 pandemic to encroach on the Maramagambo forest which covers 15175 hectares of land.
But besides the timber dealers, the leaders also say the community members have encroached on the biggest part of the forest reserve and are currently cultivating rice, groundnuts, beans and watermelons.
Timbers are also believed to be using saw machines that affected the quality of timber.
Speaking at the launch of the band sawmill, the country Director for World Wide Fund for Nature David Duli appealed to the timber dealers to properly utilize the machine by feeding it raw materials from their own tree plantations.
The introduction of the band sawmill is aimed at eliminating the use of illegal power saw.
The sawmills have been given to timber dealers in the districts of Kisoro, Rukungiri, Mitoma, Rubirizi and Kasese.