Local leaders in Lamwo district have impounded over 2,300 bags of charcoal in the last five days.
The impounding of the forest products started on March 2nd, 2023 barely a week after the Minister of State for Water and Environment, Beatrice Atim Anywar, directed all the Chief Administrative Officers to recall all product permit books issued to the district from the Ministry of Water and Environment with immediate effect.
Geoffrey Osborn Oceng, the Lamwo Resident District Commissioner-RDC, said since the district started implementing the directive, they have impounded more than 13 trucks, each having more than 100 bags of charcoal.
Oceng said that although the ministry sent out a directive banning trade in forest products, the district security committee would have to sit down and discuss ways of distinguishing between local consumers and commercial dealers in charcoal.
He added that implementers of the ban also need more guidance on what next to do after arresting the culprits.
Joyce Oyella, the Palabek Gem and Palabek Abera sub-counties female councillor noted that despite several directives banning trade in forest products, there are individuals who are not easy to deal with.
Sisto Ocen Oyet, the Lamwo district chairperson, said the directive alone is not enough, adding that the district council should enact an ordinance to better fight the indiscriminate cutting of trees for charcoal and other forest products.
According to Oyet, the ordinance would focus on punishing clan and individual landowners who give land for the purpose of burning charcoal, and all local council leaders who stamp any document authorizing the giving of land for such purpose should have their stamps removed.
Robinson Obale, the Lamwo Town Council LC V councillor suggested that a law be enacted authorizing only locals whose land is congested with trees to cut them to open the way for commercial agriculture.
The State Minister of Water and Environment on January 11th, 2023, and February 24th issued a directive banning all documents facilitating the commercial production, trade, and movement of charcoal and other forest products in the Gulu District, and the entire Acholi sub-region, respectively.
The directive followed the growing illegal charcoal production and timber logging, which has led to environmental degradation in the Acholi Sub-region.