To bring about lasting impact among communities and the people we are working with, we chose to integrate three broad areas(environment, agriculture and social development) to come up with one approach that captures all three areas. This approach is Agroforestry.
What is Agroforestry? This is a collection sustainable land-use systems and practices where woody perennials are deliberately integrated with crops and/or animals on the same land management unit.
We strongly believe that when we bring together our environmental needs, Agricultural needs and Social needs, with full participation of the concerned people we can only find lasting solutions to them through Agroforestry.
This is why and how..
Agriculture is the largest employer of over 78% of Ugandans in rural areas and is the backbone economic activity of Uganda. However many small holder farmers in rural areas like Lwengo still don’t carry out agriculture as a business but for subsistence purposes such as feeding their families and meeting a few basic needs.
This is still like this because these farming communities are faced with a number of challenges such as;
- Use of poor farming methods that exploit and exhaust farmland resources.
- The dramatic changes in climatic patterns of the region over the past years that have left local smallholder farmers unable to cope up with the changes and harsh effects such as prolonged drought.
- Pests and diseases that are now common and highly destructive to farm crops and some animals.
- Extreme poverty among smallholder farmers that due to loss of their farm investments such as crops and livestock due to the harsh weather and changes in the normal seasons.
What we are doing here:
*- Promoting improved farming methods for food and nutrition security in smallholder farmers.
*- Promoting farming as a business through smallholder farm enterprises.
*- Promoting conservation agriculture that ensures sustainable use and management of farmland soil structure and other natural biodiversity.
Lwengo district is one of the districts that have suffered worst due to effects of climate change and this has greatly affected their farming activities. In Uganda today, over 96% of agricultural activities carried out across the country entirely rely on environmental conditions and are entirely rain fed, following the two rain seasons we have in a year.
Unfortunately, in rural farming communities such as Lwengo, 100% of smallholder farming activities only depend on prevailing environmental conditions to be able to grow the family’s food, feed their livestock or get fuel resources to prepare family meals.
From the loss of forested land in the district, farmers have over the years resorted to clearing trees on farmlands for timber, fuel and income. This has left thousands of hectares of farmland bare and unable to support farming activities since productive soils have always been eroded leaving the land unproductive and thus unable to provide for the needs of many farming communities.
What we are doing:
*- Promoting tree integration on farmlands to reduce land degradation.
*- Promoting tree growing on farmlands for improved supply of wood, fodder, medicine, income and other social benefits.
*- Promoting sustainable cooking devices that reduce wood fuel wastage and thus more efficient and environment friendly.
Lwengo is one of the districts that still have a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS among residents especially among women and youth. In many families domestic violence and other forms of gender based violence is the order of the day and leads to loss of many farm projects that would sustain the livelihoods of the same families.
What we are doing:
*- Sensitise communities on HIV/AIDS prevention among farmers and youth.
*- Sensitise communities on basic human rights and how to end gender based violence.
*- Advocate for policies that foster social well-being of all community members in farming communities.