By Staff Reporter
Entebbe. Retired Colonel Tom Butime, the Minister for Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities, announced the official transfer of Entebbe Botanical Gardens’ management from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries to his ministry. The gardens will now be under the direct administration of the Uganda Wildlife Education and Conservation Centre (UWEC), a statutory body under the ministry. This transition aims to offer visitors a seamless experience by combining fauna and flora attractions, enhancing revenue generation for UWEC. The formal handover ceremony is scheduled, pending funds for further development, emphasizing improved plant management, research, and tourism services.
The initiative, prompted by a presidential directive in response to mismanagement and security concerns, aims to address reported issues and revitalize the gardens’ functionality. Last year, the President ordered the transfer of the gardens to the tourism sector, ensuring continuity of plant-related research under the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO). Reports of leasing portions of the gardens and suspicious constructions triggered the directive. Dr. Ambrose Agona clarified the construction’s goal as rehabilitating facilities for conservation, research, education, and public enjoyment.
State Minister for Tourism, Martin Mugara Bahinduka, views the transition positively, stressing continued collaboration with the former administration while addressing identified management challenges. The move is expected to alleviate UWEC’s overcrowding issues and introduce new activities like flora tourism and nature walks. Dr. James Musinguzi, UWEC’s Executive Director, welcomes the move’s potential but awaits the formal handover for detailed plans. Additional funding is deemed necessary to elevate UWEC to educational and conservation standards.
Established initially for agricultural research, the botanical gardens, managed by NARO since 1995, evolved into a renowned tourism center, attracting visitors for its diverse flora, fauna, and scenic lakeshore. The management transition aims to enhance the institution’s functionality, providing a more enriching experience for visitors while requiring additional funding to meet the necessary standards.