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Can't see the wood for the factories

President Yoweri Museveni is fiercely championing controversial plans to destroy some of Uganda’s last remaining rainforests in the name of ‘development’. Reuters reports that the plans for large-scale plantations of palm oil and sugar crops for export have prompted the resignation of Olav Bjella, head of the National Forest Authority. But Tamale Mirundi, the Presidential spokesperson, is dismissive of all opposition, stating bluntly: ‘Every Ugandan can plant a tree but not every Ugandan can put up a factory.’ Ugandan environmentalists are up in arms over the ecological consequences of the project – threats to hundreds of rare species, danger of soil erosion, impact on the rains and freshwater reserves, and removal of a crucial buffer against the pollution of Lake Victoria. The project would also destroy a vital source of firewood for local people.