Enhancing the livelihoods of local communities dependant on the Echuya Forest reserve in Kabale and Kisoro districts” 2006-2012
Enhancing the livelihoods of local communities dependant on the Echuya Forest reserve in Kabale and Kisoro districts” 2006-2012 Number of Beneficiaries: 165 farmers“Enhancing the livelihoods of local communities dependant on the Echuya Forest reserve in Kabale and Kisoro districts” 2006-2012 Number of Beneficiaries: 165 farmers
Kulika Uganda and Nature Uganda entered into a partnership to implement a project entitled ‘enhancing the livelihoods of local communities’ dependant on Echuya Forest reserve in Kabale district’. The communities targeted include bachiga, bafumbira and batwa farmers all who live around Echuya forest reserve. The aim is to improve farmers’ livelihoods, health and well being. The project targets to enhance livelihoods, and mainly aims at reducing dependence on forest products and conserving the “birds life” by conserving their habitats, and more so, creating environmental awareness and appreciation of the forests. It also targets to train people on soil and water conservation plus tree planting for soil fertility, fodder and firewood. The first phase of the project was funded by RSPB and Nature Uganda while the second phase was by JJ Trust in the UK. In all the phases, the objectives stayed largely the same except some emphasis put in some aspects than the others.
The purpose of the project is to train farmers in improved agricultural methods, nutrition and sanitation, in construction and use of appropriate technologies, in farm yield improvement through utilization of sustainable cultivation techniques, tree multiplication, especially the bamboo and other species from the forest and to promote the rational and sustainable utilization of natural resources around this forest which is globally significant for biodiversity.
Farmers have been trained in several aspects of sustainable organic agriculture (SOA). Examples of the training topics include: soil fertility building and management, soil and water conservation, food preservation and nutrition, vegetable production, livestock husbandry, crop husbandry, nursery bed establishment and management, among others.
One hundred sixty five farmers (165) have been trained and vegetable growing is practised by all the trained farmers. Farmer-to-farmer extension is ongoing whereby the trained Key Farmer Trainers (KFTs) farmers have taken up the training of other farmers near their homes in SOA. The trained farmers have gained popularity amongst the other farmers in the community and the district as a result of them being exemplary to others.
The project has supported the farmers with some farm inputs, including calliandra seedlings distributed to farmers for soil control and firewood and fodder for livestock. Bamboo shoots have been distributed to farmers to plant around their compounds to provide sticks, poles and firewood. With time, its envisaged that farmers will turn to harvest the bamboo near the compounds instead of going to the forest.
Trained farmers have demonstrated SOA practices on their farms that include; construction of contours, compost making and use in vegetable growing, plant tea, liquid manure, rapid grow, boma compost, trench compost, basket compost, kitchen gardens and mandala gardens. Farmers can now grow spinach, onions carrots, leeks, and cabbage, egg plants, sweet pepper, bitter berries (entula).
Farmers have developed model gardens which attract the interest group members and other community members. This has made their farmer to farmer work easy.
The fuel saving cook stove has been widely adopted by all trainees and some of them have already trained their group members. Given the difficulty the community has been faced with collecting firewood, which in addition is not available, the farmers have found this as one of the most useful and efficient technology.
Through the training, farmers have appreciated semi/intensive livestock management especially goats and sheep. All the farmers who had animals now have the livestock structures that were constructed after the training. There is a dual aim in this; one, the structures enable farmers to collect the manure which is used for soil fertility build up; two, less destruction of the neighbors crops.
The available observable evidence suggests that there is positive attitude towards the use of sustainable methods for food production and natural resources use by the communities around Echuya forest. Using intensive and sustainable techniques the farmers will be able to realize increased productivity per a small and fragmented piece of land.
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