More community engagements to boost demand for trees
As Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise (METGE), our main aim is to mitigate effects of climate change through encouraging tree planting at household level. Therefore, we want to expand our network of farmers who are taking trees especially in the districts we operate in; i.e. Namisindwa, Mbale, Manafwa, Bududa, Sironko, Bulambuli and Bukedea.
To achieve this as an organization, we have embarked on carrying out massive community engagements and mobilization through lobbying support from community local leaders who will then encourage farmers in their areas of jurisdiction to embrace tree planting. This is because people listen to their leaders.
In Mbale District, we managed to engage community leaders from Bukiende Sub-county where 54 leaders turned up for the mobilization and sensitization meeting.
According to the Chairman Local Council (III) Bukiende Sub County, Mr Samuel Kibalatsi, they are committed to mobilizing community members to plant trees because the seedlings are available at no cost.
“It is a great opportunity to see organizations such as METGE encouraging communities to restore their environment. We cannot take this for granted. In addition to sharing knowledge about why we have to plant trees, the organization is providing free seedlings and we commit ourselves to benefit from this opportunity,” Mr Kibalatsi says.
Local leaders from Bukiende Subcounty Mbale District attending a meeting on community mobilisation about tree planting.
“We have realized that many farmers are not aware of the opportunity of free tree seedlings being distributed to plant. We have decided to move to our areas of reach to tell leaders and farmers about the Tree Planting Programme which was already in existence but few communities know about it. Our project is geared towards restoring the environment at community level and we want more farmers to plant trees,” Mr. Natwaluma Godfrey Programme Manager METGE says.
“We cannot do this alone and therefore local leaders support is key in mobilizing farmers to pick tree seedlings from our nearby nurseries and plant. When we are grappling with effects of climate change in our communities they affect us all because human activities such as land fragmentation and need for more land to do agriculture such as planting only crops without embracing agroforestry, carrying out brick making on a large scale without planting more trees to replace the cut ones will profusely lead to climate change effects in future. The time to act is now”, Mr Natwaluma adds.
The Programme Manager Mr Godfrey Natwaluma talks to local leaders from Bukiende Subcounty about picking interest in planting trees and also encourage their people to do so.
As METGE, we will continue to educate farmers on how they can practice agroforestry practices even on small pieces of land. They can plant trees along their land boundaries and practice intercropping. We all know trees play an important role in carbon exchange. We cannot leave without trees because the fresh air we breathe in comes from these trees.