The Executive Director of National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Akankwasa Barirega has said that the eviction of wetland encroachers in the Busoga sub-region will not commence until alternative income generation activities have been put in place.

Akankwasa who was addressing Busoga leaders in Jinja City said that wetland encroachment is on the rise in the region.

Akankwasa further said that they have embarked on grassroots consultation drives where subsistence farmers in the wetland areas share ideas on relocation plans.

Citing the presidential directive to evict people who have encroached on wetlands, Akankwasa says that, their teams are mapping out wetlands, swamps, and streams, among others to ease ongoing sensitization drives of encroachers to survive in other fields, which are environmentally sustaining.

Akankwasa said that skilling affected persons in other alternatives like beekeeping, dairy farming, and piggery, among others are better options for income generation, rather than over-reliance on small rice gardens in swamps and wetlands.

The Minister of General Duties, Justine Lumumba said that the alternatives streamlined for affected persons should be well coordinated to suit their demands. Citing the post-harvest handling facilities, which are lying idle due to lack of power, Lumumba has urged government ministries to jointly ensure the operationalization of alternative enterprises, earmarked to benefit farmers, slated for eviction from wetlands.

Operation Wealth Creation-OWC Deputy Coordinator, Maj. Gen. Samuel Kavuma asked the leaders to lead their communities in steering meaningful environmental conservation drives for future sustainability.

The Minister in charge of the Presidency Milly Babalanda said that President Museveni directed the finance ministry officials to devise means of compensating affected persons before evicting them from the wetlands, as a means of giving them sustainable livelihoods.

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