CSF graduate takes on the sugar industry with economic analysis

An hour drive from Kampala lies the Mabira Forest, one of the few remaining natural forest reserves in Uganda. Rich in biological diversity, the forest contributes to the livelihood of the adjacent communities and provides an opportunity for ecotourism. In 2009 the Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL) requested permission from the government to use part of the Mabira Central Forest Reserve for sugarcane growing. CSF graduate Ronald Kaggwa took action. An environmental economist at the Uganda National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Ronald conducted an economic analysis to prove that the net benefits of conservation far outweighed those of sugarcane. With even further research, Ronald discovered that SCOUL was the least efficient sugar industry in the region and it would be more cost-effective to source sugar cane from other more efficient growers. With Ronald's analysis, the decision to allocate part of the forest to SCOUL was reversed and the forest was saved. With a net present value of $45.1 million in its intact state, the Mabira forest proved to be a resource worth protecting.