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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
Ugandan plan for forest suspended
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Plans to give thousands of acres of rainforest in Uganda to an Asian-owned sugar company have been suspended after protests left three people dead.

The decision to allow a sugar cane plantation in Mabira met intense criticism from environmentalists.

They warned of extensive soil erosion and the possible extinction of rare species of wildlife.

Environment minister Maria Mutagamba said the government was trying to find alternative land for the Mehta Group

A protest last month in the capital, Kampala, turned violent when police fired live bullets to disperse the crowd.

Mrs Mutagamba said no action would be taken until a cabinet committee had completed a review of the Ugandan sugar industry.

Yoweri Museveni
They don't understand that the future on all countries lies in processing
President Yoweri Museveni

The Sugar Corporation of Uganda (Scoul), part of the Mehta group, wants to expand its plantations in central Uganda.

President Yoweri Museveni had backed the plan and other supporters of the sugar bid said the expansion would create more jobs and income for the country.

But the government was divided on the matter and the state-run New Vision paper had criticised the move.

The kabaka, or king, of the local Buganda community had offered to give alternative land for the sugar company in a bid to save the hardwood forest.

In the capital there has been a car bumper sticker campaign urging people to save Mabira forest.


SEE ALSO
Deaths in Uganda forest protest
12 Apr 07 |  Africa
Uganda MPs angry at forest plan
22 Mar 07 |  Africa
Uganda to sell off sugar works
11 Mar 02 |  Business
Do jobs count or the environment?
12 Apr 07 |  Have Your Say
Country profile: Uganda
19 Jan 07 |  Country profiles

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