BRALIRWA joins Rubavu residents to plant over 10,000 trees, reaffirms its environmental protection agenda

BRALIRWA's technical Director Sanders Bokelman plants a tree on Rubona hill during Umuganda

In partnership with local government authorities in Rubavu district, Rwanda Defence Forces, and residents of Nyamyumba Sector in Rubavu, BRALIRWA supported the planting of over 10,300 forest trees on Rubona hill –a place that sustains a major environmental threat particularly due to heavy landslides and soil erosions that characterise it.

Mukamuganga Mariya, a resident of this sector said soil erosion heavily threatens their agricultural activities and minimises productivity greatly.

Reiterating Mukamuganga’s sentiments, the Mayor of Rubavu district Mr. Sinamenye Jeremie noted that soil erosion is the leading bottleneck to environmental health and sufficient food production.

“First soil erosion takes away the good nutrient filled top soil leaving our soils barren and with meagre agricultural production potential yet a large percentage of our population, just like elsewhere across Rwanda, depends on agriculture for subsistence.”

But other than this loss of the nutrient rich top soils, Sinamenye added that the eroded landslides mostly end up in the neighbouring Lake Kivu, damaging water life in the water body and threatening productivity from yet another major source of livelihood in the district.

“This is why planting trees that can hold soils together and significantly reduce soil erosion is a big priority in our district. As a good citizen of the district, BRALIRWA has done well to provide the over 10,000 trees that we have planted on Rubona hill,” the Mayor expressed during a community gathering after community work on March 25th to plant the trees.

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BRALIRWA’s brewery is located in the same sector of Nyamyumba and has been among victims of landslide destruction in the past particularly in the year 2012.

But tree planting has not been supported in Rubavu alone. This leading beverage manufacturer in Rwanda has financed tree planting in the Eastern Province where years of deforestation had left bare lands. As a result, communities in the province were prone to destructive windstorms with Gastibo district among the most affected.

With BRALIRWA’s support, over 200,000 trees were planted in Gatsibo until 2014 targeting most populated areas of the district.

The rationale of tree planting for BRALIRWA

Speaking at the community gathering after the tree planting event in Rubavu, BRALIRWA’s Technical Director Mr. Sander Bokelman told the gathering that environmental protection is a top priority on the beverage manufacturer’s agenda.

But why would a beer and soft drinks’ manufacturer be enthusiastic about tree planting and environmental protection?

To manufacture beverages, water is a major ingredient. However, fresh water is one of the most coveted natural resources worlds over.

It is this imperative to actively contribute to the conservation and protection of water resources that has led the Heineken Group, BRALIRWA’s largest shareholder, to identify environmental protection as one of the group’s top priorities in ensuring sustainable operations.

To protect water resources, it is important that soil erosion is prevented so that the available water bodies are not contaminated. To achieve this, the company is investing in tree planting among other initiatives.

1491053453Bralirwa joins residents of Nyamyumba sector, local authorities in Rubavu district and security organs to cover rubona hill with forest trees to curb soil eros

However, BRALIRWA is not just planting trees. Several other initiatives have been identified in the effort to protect water resources and reduce contamination thereof.

One such initiative is the water treatment plant that is being constructed by BRALIRWA in Rubavu to serve the beverage manufacturer’s Gisenyi brewery.The Frw5 billion worth water treatment plant will ensure that waste water from BRALIRWA’s production is cleaned for reuse.

Also, strategies such as the use of waste water in watering gardens and various plant cover in and around BRALIRWA’s production sites have also been implemented to reduce the disposal of waste water into the environment.

1491055186Bralirwa joins residents of Nyamyumba sector, local authorities in Rubavu district and security organs to cover rubona hill with forest trees to curb soil erosion and landslides

The big picture

With strengthened water conservation, the Heineken Group has set an ambitious good water use target by the year 2020.

Under the target, Heineken aspires that all its production sites across the world would be using not more than 3.5hl of water to produce 1hl of beverages. This water count includes all water volumes that are required in cleaning bottles, and production units leading to the production of one hectolitre of beverage.

By end of year 2015, BRALIRWA was scoring well on this target. It was using 3.8hl of water per 1hl of beverage and now continues to implement various initiatives to ensure that the good strides made are sustained and that the goal remains within reach by implementing other progressive initiatives.

“We are committed to ensuring the protection of the environment in the communities where we work. We will continue this in partnership with the community and the leadership of Rwanda,” Freddy Nyangezi, BRALIRWA’s Corporate affairs Director noted.

  • By Mathew Rwahigi
  • Posted 31st March 2017

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