Meet Mutonyi: A farmer who has embraced agroforestry
In 2015 Bubwaya Tree Nursery Site in Bubwaya Parish, Nanyonzo Village, Manafwa Town Council (TC) Sub-county, Manafwa District through our implementing partner Bungokho Rural Develop- ment Centre (BRDC), was established to serve this community.
From Komola Women Group, which comprised of 12 members is Ms Robina Mutonyi from Buwamderema North Village, Bubwaya Parish Ward, Manafwa Town Council (TC), Manafwa District, one of the beneficiaries who took on the tree planting project very seriously.
She says she got to know about the distribution of free seedlings by Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise (METGE), when one of our nursery operator of Bubwaya Nursery site Mr Alex Akisoferi, moved in communities and informed people about the new nursery which was supplying free tree seedlings and where readily available for planting and growing.
Ms Robina Mutonyi, checks on her coffee trees.
“I did this upon realizing that there were a lot of seedlings ready for planting and the demand was less. I decided to move from house to house and inform the communities about the free tree seedling initiative by METGE,” Mr Akisoferi says, adding that he even offered technical information on how people can plant and grow trees.
Ms Mutonyi picked tree seedlings in 2018 from this nursery site. She picked about 1,500 tree seedlings of different species which included Musizi, Acrocarpus, Mvule and Terminalia.
“Through the technical advice from Mr Akisoferi, I realized that I can plant trees alongside my crops and they grow well”, Ms Mutonyi says.
Walking through Ms Mutonyi’s 5-acre garden, you can clearly see that the trees are giving canopy to her crops especially for the coffee crop.
Ms Mutonyi's trees that she intercropped with coffee and beans.
“I grew my trees alongside my crops such as coffee, beans, matooke and groundnuts. That is how I have fully utilized my land. I look forward to see my trees mature because for now they are supporting me to add nutrients to the soil when the leaves drop in the gardens and decompose,” Ms Mutonyi says.
“In addition to this, the trees are also supporting the neighboring communities near my garden to provide cool environment and also control soil erosion by binding the soils so as not to be washed away or run down the low lands. This reduces on flooding and silting of rivers and streams”, she says.
“I have continuously planted and harvested my crops as my trees mature. I know by the time they mature I will get enough timber which will boost my side income in the future and also the same trees will stock carbon and provide cool and fresh air to the people surrounding my garden,” Mutonyi says.
According to Akisoferi, Ms Mutonyi is a great tree farmer and as one of the beneficiaries to pick tree seedlings from the nursery, she has never complained of any losses because she has taken care of the trees very well. It is the main reason almost all her 5 acres of land are occupied with trees but along crops.
Therefore, she is one of the model farmers who has embraced agroforestry though on a small scale.