Mabale: of trees and the environment.

Today, as people, communities and organisations across the globe celebrate World Environment Day, we look at how smallholder farmers value of trees and sustainable practices in Uganda are helping to improve their livelihoods and protect valuable natural resources.



Located in the town of Fort Portal in the south west region of Uganda, Mabale Tea Growers Factory is one of the 3 Centres of Excellence (CoE) in CPFs East Africa programmes. The CoE at Mabale focusses on techniques for environmental sustainability, looking at energy efficiency, agroforestry and horticulture. This builds upon work from previous programmes in the region, and many of these activities are beginning to be scaled up and will be shared to more farmers across CPFs network in the coming months. On a recent field visit CPF staff had an opportunity to see some of the projects on the ground.

Mabale is very passionate about its climate change adaptation efforts and they have high aims for their programmes; including planting over 2 million trees by foresting at least 0.5ha of each of the smallholder farmers land within their catchment. In order to achieve this, they have adopted innovative approaches. By intercropping tea bushes with trees on 50 x 6 m2 they can optimise the use of available land, addressing the problem of deforestation that typically occurs during the establishment of tea gardens, where it is common to see a clearing of trees to pave way for the cash crop.


These initiatives help to protect and conserve the ever changing climate which smallholder farmers livelihoods rely on. They can also help to more directly affect their income by creating further opportunities for generating revenue. As most tea gardens are devoid of trees, such a move will ensure that households have a continuous supply for firewood, timber and round wood for domestic and industrial needs. Added to this, the farmers at Mabale are constructing energy saving stoves using locally available resources such as anthill soil, sand, mud and using extracts from crushed sweet potato leaves as the bonding material.

Mabale is a greatexample of how best practices can translate into environmental conservation and resource efficiency. These are just some of the innovative ways that smallholders farmers are responding to the worlds most pressing problems – poverty, food insecurity and climate change. At CPF, we believe that the best way to solve these issues is by empowering the 500 million smallholder farmers globally to share their expertise, knowledge and solutions.

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