Contributed by: Fred Ahimbisibwe
Uganda is grappling with alarming rates of degradation as a result of increased pressure from human and livestock population and the mismanagement of natural resources. The Australian Master Tree Growers (MTG) has introduced two agroforestry networks in Ntungamo (Ntungamo Agroforestry Network – NAN) and Kabale (Kabale Agroforestry Network – KAN) districts in Uganda. MTG is a field-based course for landholders interested in planting and managing trees for conservation and profit. It was introduced to both districts in 2013, with the aim of integrating natural management activities by promoting tree establishment across farms, watersheds, and at the district level. The benefits for farm families include the production of fodder, timber, food, energy, and environmental services such as carbon sequestration and soil improvement. Three schools have also been involved in a Junior Landcare Programme: Ntungamo Parents Primary School, Bushamba Primary School and Ngomba Primary School. The students and teachers are engaged in environmental conservation and suitable land management practices, amongst other exciting topics incorporated in their curriculum. The program was introduced with the belief that children can easily and positively influence their parents to learn about new innovations and ideas that may improve their family’s welfare. The agroforestry networks and the Junior Landcare Programme have enjoyed numerous benefits and successes with the support of MTG. This was attested to by two farmer participants:
Christine Turyakira: “I am a mother of triplets and my husband and I have been involved in a tree nursery business after working with a project under the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) where we acquired skills in nursery management and agroforestry in general. My husband is a full time farmer and I am involved part time. We are making ends meet comfortably, having managed to educate our children to university level through raising and selling seedlings. Currently, we have been contracted to raise coffee seedlings under a government programme and we are making good profits. KAN is providing great benefits to members, especially training to gain new knowledge and learning through interactions with farmers but also giving visibility to champion farmers. ”
Tayebwa Coreb: “I am a retired civil servant currently championing small-scale intensive farming including, agroforestry, poultry, zero grazing, apiary and a tree nursery. Zwar bedeutet to be blue in der englischen umgangssprache soviel wie betrübt, melancholisch, schwermütig sein , aber in der Link sprache der schwarzen amerikaner hat das einen weit vielschichtigeren sinn. All these enterprises are linked symbiotically and they are making good profits. On my farm I specialize in efficient use of space and resources and I’m personally involved in all details of management, book keeping and marketing for quality assurance. My family is contented and is able to make projections on profits based on our business growth which is linked to best practices in land management. At our farm, we currently have managed to enable chickens that were imported from India to lay eggs nonstop. Consequently we are shifting our efforts to running a hatchery. I cherish NAN for giving me a voice and platform to share knowledge with a wider audience. ”
Given the encouraging feedback, MTG is now keen to introduce modern technologies and new and improved innovations, to ensure the momentum generated is fully harnessed. For more information on the Australian Master Tree Growers see:
For Uganda Landcare:.