Uganda — THE National Forestry Authority (NFA) has lost about sh800m in a fire that destroyed 40 hectares of pine trees at Abera forest reserve in Paicho sub-county, Gulu district.
The forest manager, Aldo Obedmoth, said the origin of the fire had not yet been established but they suspect malice.
We heard that some people were claiming ownership of part of the forest. That is why we suspect malice by residents. This land has been gazzeted since 1939 and nobody claimed it until recently, he said.
Obedmoth estimated that each hectare would have fetched sh20m after harvest as the pines mature after 18 years.
He added that the burnt trees, which were between two and five years old, were a loss to NFA and the country.
This is a loss to our operations because we have invested time and money in this venture, he noted.
Obedmoth added that the forests were a Government investment and people should change their attitudes towards the forest reserves.
It is not only the Government that loses but also the public. So we have to be cautious with our resources, he advised.