A young farmer with big plans

20. December 2021|In Stories, Uganda

A report by Andrew Odoch Umahtete and Rainer Lang.

young farmer woman has two seedlings in her hands and stands in a tree nursery in Uganda

“We need more people with such exemplary commitment to our environment and climate as Editah Nabweru,” enthuses Andrew Odoch Umahtete. He is one of our co-workers in Uganda and thrilled by the young woman’s whole-hearted motivation. He was delighted when he met Editah in western Uganda as she was picking up seedlings from one of our nurseries in the Mbarara district.

The smallholder farmer caught fire when she learned that an organisation specialising in reforestation of degraded land was active in her region. For she knows not only that there is an urgent need to plant trees in her homeland, but also that it would be possible for her to make a living doing so. In the wake of climate change, as a result of which regular rainfall is failing and drought is increasing, it is becoming more and more difficult to farm in Uganda.

young farmer woman in tree nursery in Uganda

For Editah Nabweru, the ideal way out of this dilemma is the reforestation of degraded areas with fast-growing trees. These are not only good for the climate because they store carbon. They also add nutrients to the soil and provide shade. That’s why the young farmer can plant vegetables under the protection of the trees, both for her own use and for sale at local markets. This allows her to quickly earn an income and make money until the trees are large enough to be harvested and used as timber.

In the Mbarara district, where Uganda’s second-largest city is located, livestock farming has traditionally been the main activity. In order to gain pasture land, most of the woodlands have been cut down. Because the herds have grown larger and larger, more and more trees have been cut down. There is little rain, a lot of sunshine and great drought because of deforestation, says Andrew Umahtete.

young farmer woman has two seedlings in her hands and stands in a tree nursery in Uganda

Editah Nabweru has big plans. “I want to become a businesswoman and plant trees so that after a few years I can sell the timber. I also want to grow fruits and make juice,” she proudly explains. “From my earnings, I want to support my family,” she adds. 

The young woman became interested in planting trees when she met a Fairventures employee in her district. “Omara Leo taught me how to plant and take care of the trees and introduced me to their benefits,” explains the farmer. This was the initial spark for her. She asked her father to give her some land. He gave her four acres (ca. 1,6 hectares). Since then, she has been coming to the nursery regularly. However, she not only plants fast-growing trees, but also fruits such as guavas and mangoes. Thanks to the support of our donors, the young woman now looks to the future with hope.