Nature Smart Production

Nature Smart Production

Seedlings For Impact

Aim: Improving the resilience and Economic Independence of Youths, especially those with disabilities and other Vulnerabilities through Skilling, Revolving Fund and Business support.

Primary Focus: Coffee seedling and seeds, integrating other species in the long-term.

Target number of seedlings per year: 1,000,000 (One million) – 20,000 per person.

Objectives/ Components:

  1. Provide Youths, especially youth with disabilities and other vulnerabilities with skills in Tree Nursery Management, Seed Technology & Propagation and other Climate-smart Market Gardening skills;
  2. Providing Start-up Capital for trained youths to run disability and environmentally friendly micro-businesses;
  3. Providing Market support and other forms of Business support.

Key Activities

  • Tree Nursery Management training
  • Coffee Mother-garden establishment
  • Coffee Seed Processing
  • Training in Climate-smart gardening skills

2.1. Provide Working Space

2.2. Establish conducive watering system

2.3. Provide in-kind start-up capital

2.4. Train in record-keeping and basic accounting

2.5. Follow-up and support-supervision

3.1. Market developed seedlings and seed

3.2. Training in other life-support activities

 Expected Outcomes:

  1. Disabled and youths with other vulnerabilities economically empowered to earn income for self-sustenance;
  2. Improved acceptance of youths with disabilities as useful contributors to community wellbeing and national development – social inclusion;
  • Disabled and other vulnerable youths become more resilient to impacts of Climate Change;
  1. Climate change mitigation through increased tree cover;
  2. Improved food Security through Agro forestry systems promoted by the project;
  3. Contributing to rejuvenating Uganda’s no 1 cash-crop (coffee)

 Bark-cloth Making

Bark cloth is a unique fabric produced from the bark of Ficus natalensis commonly called ‘mutuba’ tree.  The craftsmanship steeped in ancient culture and tradition; started way back in the 13th century and played significant cultural, financial, social and environmental roles.  Uganda’s bark cloth was proclaimed ‘a masterpiece of the world's intangible heritage’ and was well recognized as a unique indigenous textile production craft by UNESCO.  The bark of the tree is harvested, without harming the tree, to make bark cloth, an environmentally-friendly, renewable material. Skilled artisans incorporate this unique fabric into many modern uses, including fashion, accessories, house wares, interior design, and other forms of art.  When people conserve F. natalensis trees on their farm lands they also benefit from other ecological benefits that include improved resilience of farm-lands, provision of cooking energy –as branches can be sustainably harvested for firewood and leaves can provide fodder for domestic animals.

According to Aloysius Buyingo Ssalongo, a trainer in the bark cloth production industry, bark cloth was was widely used by the people in the in the central region, not only for enthronements, but also for other rituals. Since it was the earliest form of clothing material, it was inevitably used for other purposes such as beddings and curtains. As time went on and other clothing materials were introduced, the use of bark cloth was looked at as for the low-class people or preserved for traditional rituals.

According to oral tradition, the art and science of back cloth making was invented by Wamala Buyingo Kaboggoza of the Ngonge (Otter) clan in the 13th century, while on a hunting expedition in a forest in Mawokota County.

Ssemwezi Kaboggoza, 89, is in the 18th in the lineage of the Kaboggozas.He is a descendant of Wamala Buyingo Kaboggoza.

He says his ancestor made the discovery during the reign of (late king) Ssekabaka Kimera, who ruled from 1217 to 1247. It was Kimera who gave Buyingo the name Kaboggoza because of the sound of the mallet (nsaamo) hitting the bark repeatedly. Ssemwezi, who lives in Nsangwa village, Buwama sub-county in Mpigi district, says his late father Alvin Mukasa Kaboggoza who passed away in 1949, made the bark cloth pieces that were bestowed upon Ssekabakas Daudi Chwa and Fredrick Mutesa II in preparation for the enthronement after their father’s deaths.

“The introduction of cotton cloth by Arab caravan traders in the 19th century and the banning of traditional religions by the British in 1929 and the 1966 crisis in buganda affected bark cloth production in Uganda,” says Ssemwezi.

Nonetheless, the restoration of the Buganda monarch in the early 1990’s revived the art that is still venerated in Buganda kingdom.

Before that, Ssemwezi’s main economic activity was coffee growing and brewing of local beer (mwenge bigere) on his 300 –acre piece of land.

He is now involved in commercial bark cloth making although not on the same scale as his forefathers.

 Ficus natalensis, locally called ‘Mutuba’ tree has so many wonderful attributes:

  1. It can provide a total of 200sq. m of cloth individually for up to 40 years of sustainable production. Uganda’s bark-cloth got special recognition by UNESCO when it was proclaimed a ‘masterpiece of world’s intangible heritage’.
  2. It is one of the fastest growing indigenous trees;
  • It is one of the best agro forestry trees. It is well known to grow well with most of the country’s main food and cash crops like coffee, banana etc;
  1. It greatly improves the farm’s resilience – crops growing with natalensis can withstand dry spells quite better;
  2. It is a source of the most common cooking energy – firewood. Because of its ability to amass biomass quite fast, its branches can be sustainably harvested annually for firewood and remain productive in other aspects like bark-cloth production as well.
  3. It is a source of fodder for domestic animals, especially goats and cows;
  • It acts as live support plant for creeping crops like yams, passion fruits, vanilla etc.

 Community Carbon Stocks

The Farm-lands rehabilitation and Community carbon stocks (Biochar Project) aims to advance use organic Biochar[1] to improve the quality of exhausted/degraded soils while sequestering carbon.  This is based on proven properties of Biochar: i) Improving cation exchange capacities and decrease acid saturation; ii) Improving water-holding capacity of especially sandy/weathered soils; iii) Decreasing the leaching rate of nutrients, hence improving effectiveness of fertilizers and manures to the crops and iv) capacity to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (NO2) emissions.  The project is responding to the ever increasing vulnerability of small-scale farmers due to soil exhaustion resulting from land degradation and climate change.  While small-scale farmers are responsible for over 80% of agricultural production in Uganda, this production and life-support activity is threatened with soil exhaustion due to poor agricultural practices; and, effects of climate change.  This has resulted into poverty; food insecurity of many households and increased deforestation in search of productive land.  The ultimate result is increased vulnerability of the small-scale farmer to effects of climate change on one hand, and increasing rates of environmental degradation on the other.

 Land degradation and decreasing agricultural land productivity are severe problems in Uganda.  Although Uganda’s soils were once considered to be among the most fertile in the tropics (Chenery 1960), problems of soil nutrient depletion, erosion, and other manifestations of land degradation appear to be increasing.  The rate of soil nutrient depletion is among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa (Stoorvogel and Smaling 1990. This renders small-holder farming families more vulnerable to Climate Change impacts and in turn to be more destructive to forested areas in search of more productive land.

The project goal is to enhance adaptation capacity of small-holder households by reducing their vulnerability resulting from land degradation and climate change. 

  • Biochar Production and Promotion

Equipping farmers with skills and equipment to produce Biochar for their farms and for additional Income generation.

  • Voluntary carbon Marketing

Promoting trading of Carbon credits from community carbon stocks fixed by Biochar and Tree stands.

[1] Biochar is a fine-grained, carbon-rich, porous product remaining after plant biomass has been subjected to thermo-chemical conversion process (pyrolysis) in an environment with little or no oxygen (Amonette and Joseph, 2009).