Uganda cancels controversial rainforest logging plan
October 18, 2007
Environment minister Maria Mutagamba told Reuters that the government had officially rejected a request by the Mehta Group to convert one third of the Mabira Forest Reserve for a sugarcane plantation.
"The idea of sugar growing in Mabira is no longer there. We are looking for money for other land," she was quoted as saying. "A committee of cabinet was set up to examine the plan but did not get back to us. In the meantime, other land was identified."
Rainforest in Uganda. Photo by Rhett A. Butler. More Uganda photos.
The controversy came to boiling point in April when three people were killed during protests over the project. Shortly thereafter Mutagamba announced the project had been shelved pending further review.
The cancellation of the Mabira plan was the second time this year that President Museveni has yielded to criticism over land give-aways. In May the government withdrew the license to Bidco, a Kenyan company, to log thousands of hectares of rainforest on Bugala island in Lake Victoria for a palm oil plantation.