As the world prepares to celebrate World Environment Day on June 5, the Democratic Green Party Rwanda (DGPR) is campaigning across the country to encourage its members to participate in environmental protection programs, but point out the challenges posed by deforestation. Involvement and the availability of expensive cook stoves and most of the dominant wood firefighters in rural areas are unable to afford it, according to its members from Nyanza district in Southern Province.
Environmental conservation is one of the strategies to cope with climate change with a variety of impacts including lack of rainfall, drought, respiratory diseases and everything else based on illegal deforestation as trees attract rain.
Some Green Party members who spoke to Rwandanews24 say they still see a gap in deforestation, despite a recent report by the Rwanda Forest Authority https://www.rfa.rw/fileadmin/user_upload/RFA/Publications/Rwanda_Forest_Cover_Mapping_November_2019_.pdf
Mukeshimana Anne Marie, a Green Party activist living in Nyanza district, Nyagisozi sector. In an interview with Rwandanews24, “The forests are being cleared because of the firewood, especially for the rural population,” she said. This is because of the high cost of fuel and the low cost of fuel. “
She goes on to say that once she realized the importance of forest conservation she asked about the cost of deforestation to help him cook when she started the forest and found it expensive.
“Because there is cook stoves in the city of Kigali, I asked someone who knew the price and told me that one cook stove costs between 35,000frws and 45,000frws,” she said. I immediately felt that conserving the real forest was up to the owners because I am poor and I can’t get the money I need and I don’t buy the food for my family and I don’t pay the school fees. “
Prices for cooking utensils are high
In addition to the cook stove costs between 35,000frws and 45,000frws, bio-gas and gas are also other forms of cooking, are very expensive.
Asked if she knew bio-gas as also the one of the methods used in forest conservation, Mukeshimana said she knew the bio-gas information.
“I asked about the price of the cook stove and found out that bio-gas is the most expensive thing, even though I can’t afford it. They told me that bio-gas requires a person to breed at least 2 cows and eat enough to get enough manure to use them for bio-gas use; They tell me that when you need it, you tell the local authorities to help you get it because they provide support, but the community also pays 800,000frw to help with the construction work and pay the construction workers. I can’t do that because I’m poor. “
Gas is not at the level of the average person
Mukeshimana compares gas use to power outages in rural areas.
“In different areas of the country they buy token of electricity for the first time and get it, but when you do, most people leave immediately because it is expensive. The same is true of gas because even if you give it to me as a subsidy, I can’t buy a second one because there is no quantity of gas cost between 1000frws and 5000frws. I see deforestation as the price involved because even the charcoal they tell us to use, the bag costs 10,000frws. “Once there is a reduction in the price of cook stoves, the forests will be better preserved.”
Gahamanyi Isaïe is also a Green Party activist in Nyagisozi sector, Nyanza district and is a teacher in primary School. He says the protection of the environment, especially forests, is being hampered by the cost of cooking utensils.
“Cooking is one of the main things people need in everyday life. You can cook with firewood, charcoal, cook stoves, bio-gas, gas or electricity. In the rural areas, which is also the most populous country in Rwanda, they use firewood for cooking because most of them do not have enough resources to buy one of the equipment mentioned above. They use firewood because they are cheaper than others and these firewood come from the forest around them. ”
He goes on to say that when you talk to different people in the rural areas they are aware of the importance of protecting the environment especially the forests, but the obstacles are the ability to find other firewood to replace the wood.
“I was fortunate enough to see the Lack of Fuel, even when we were cooking at home. But if I were not a teacher I would not obey it because it is expensive. When I bought a small one I bought it for 28,000frws. You don’t even have to spend 1000frws a day to buy food for your family, you just have to save money to buy it. ”
What does the Democratic Green Party Rwanda have to say on this issue?
In an interview with Rwandanews24, the secretary of the Green Party’s dispute resolution and conflicts management committee, Mr. Innocent Iyakaremye, said:
“The potential of Rwandans is not the same, which is why they are so supportive of access to cooking equipment in the field of forest conservation,” he said. For example, in agriculture, supplementation is required. This is done by reducing the amount of fuel, bio-gas and gas; would be a great contribution to forest conservation. ”
He further said that bio-gas is not possible because all Rwandans have chosen cows. “We have a Girainka program in Rwanda, but one person is given one cow and not two are required to build a bio-gas,” he said. Depending on the size of the cow, people will have to wait a couple of years for the cow to give birth. There is still a long way to go before forestry can be maintained at a high level, even after the land has been cleared. ”
Our suggestion as a Democratic Green Party Rwanda is that the country will build gas storage facilities as sustainable solution, so that its price can be reduced so that every Rwandan can buy it. This would be a lasting solution because in the event of a landslide we will miss it and it will be expensive. The rise in oil and gas prices, for example, has risen sharply since the start of the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Rwanda’s forests cover an area of 30.4 percent, an area of 8,006.7 square kilometers. Compared to the area of different provinces of the country, it was found that forests have reached the same size as the Western and Northern Provinces combined. The census was conducted by the Rwanda National Forestry Authority.