It is time to rethink Uganda’s policy approach to trees on farms
Researchers call on the Government to promulgate the draft national agroforestry strategy to hasten tree-based rural development for multiple benefits.
High up on the southern slopes of Mount Elgon, at about 1850 metres above sea level, Masaba Alex is tending his coffee farm. A father of six, with a one-acre farm dotted with coffee plants and two heads of cattle being zero-grazed, this is his only source of income for survival. He has to pay hospital bills and equally meet school obligations from the production of coffee. He must ensure that he maximizes this.
‘I chose to leave the “khimikhikili” (Cordia africana) trees on my farm because they help in increasing the coffee yields,’ said 43-year-old Masaba.
The trees help in providing shade to the trees, but the leaf litter equally improves soil fertility. His wife, Namutosi Agnes equally believes the trees are essential for the day-to-day running of her home.
‘The park authorities only allow us two days in a week to go to the park [Ed: Mt Elgon National Park] and collect firewood,’ she said. ‘On other days, I get firewood from the trees over there,’ pointing to eucalyptus trees along the boundary with her neighbours.