By: Nelson Kukundakwe
Project-Affected Persons of Rwamutonga-Buseruka in Hoima district during training with Living Earth Uganda staff on crop management.
During one of the trainings on tree nursery improvement practices, Patrick Mboineki, a resident of Buseruka sub-county, Hoima district, narrated how he planted mango trees in his garden, but had to wait four years later to harvest the first fruit. This was in response to the announcement of receiving an improved variety of grafted mango trees that produce mature fruits in 18 months.
The fruits are part of the packages distributed by Living Earth Uganda (LEU) to Project Affected Persons (PAP HHs) in the Bunyoro subregion as part of the overall Uganda-funded Provision of Agricultural Support Services Project AgricSSP. This is one of the many improved crops that LEU is giving out to project-affected households (PAHs) in a bid to help them recover from the obliterations that came along with oil and gas development projects.
"Project affected people are at the heart of what we do. "We aim to ensure that their lives are restored as quickly as possible, and that’s the reason we are introducing them to improved methods and giving them fruit trees that yield faster compared to indigenous species," says Rodgers Adriko, the Environment Agronomist at Living Earth Uganda.
He adds that the crops LEU are highly nutritious and "provide alternative nutrition options on top of being a source of income due to their high-yielding characteristics."
Rodgers Adriko, the Environment Agronomist at Living earth Uganda during a practical tree planting training in Rwamutonga
This was during a hands-on training on good tree/fruit management practices and practical planting systems, which took place in Rwamutonga, Buseruka subcounty, Hoima district.
At least forty PAHs from villages in Kisansya West, Kisansya East, and Rwamutonga-Buseruka attended and received training in pre-planting, and planting activities. At least 574 PAHs opted to choose trees that included both fruit and commercial trees from the packages.
The forests in the region have been providing a wide range of products to households, including fuel, wild fruit, timber, medicine, and others, but the ever-increasing pressure on natural resources has made it difficult to source these products nearby, with some having to walk more than 5 km to get them.
LEU aims to help PAPs plant appropriate fruit, timber, medicinal, fuel wood, and shrubs by providing seedlings and training them in good agroforestry practices to curtail the increasing environmental degradation in the region.
"The project also provides beans, maize, g.nuts, greens and cassava, which are mainly the major food crops grown in the region. "Trainings like these are intended to prepare (PAP HHs) on the fundamentals of improved farming methods in order to help them improve their livelihoods faster," Mr. Adriko says during the training.
Sharon Abigaba, another PAP noted that the trainings have been eye-opening.
"We have always practiced agriculture but using traditional approaches, sometimes misguided but LEU has introduced us to modern farming methods, given us high-yielding crops and with this training, I am looking forward to the yields" says Abigaba.
Living earth staff training PAPS on proper farming methods in Rwamutonga-Buseruka Hoima districts.
The training was graced by Aruwa David, the Atacama supervisor who implored PAHs to start preparing their land early enough to avoid rushed preparations, which may have a negative effect on their crops.