Adoption of FMNR spreads from farmer to farmer

August 17, 2016

by Loyce Mugisa – FMNR Network Uganda

Veronica and Lawrence are FMNR champions; they were trained in 2013 alongside other 10 individuals from each parish of Nyakwae sub-county in Abim district in Uganda. They were taken to Ofaka district where FMNR had earlier been piloted and were inspired by the results of FMNR in that area. Both have been active in establishing an FMNR demonstration garden for their village. They explain that the area where the demonstration garden now sits used to be bare ground with little grass and no trees at all. When the winds came, soil would be blown off, when it rained; the soils would again be swept.

“after our training as champions, we came and established this demonstration site, we would prune the trees and allow them to grow. We trained people about FMNR and one change stands out in this community, the habit of bush burning has reduced, our animals have grass to eat unlike before the time FMNR started here”.

Their demonstration garden was established in 2013 and is now three years old. We have learnt to plough in a correct way, we have got skills in water and soil conservation, we have knowledge about soil nutrients, conservation.

Lawrence said “Personally, I have got exposure, when we went to Arua, I learnt that FMNR is possible and it can work, I changed my attitude about it and believed that it works. When I returned, I trained seven people in my village and now I am an example.”

“We have come to learn about some trees which we didn’t know that are medicinal for both humans and animals. For example the “oryang” tree (Fardiherbia Albida) is used to deworm goats, it is also important for increasing soil fertility. We now protect it because it’s an important tree”.

These champions have two gardens where they practice FMNR. Veronica has four acres and has decided to leave over 15 trees in each acre to grow with her crops. She says “my garden is four4 acres big, I grow sunflower, ground nuts and sorghum. Initially, I cultivated two acres of sunflower garden, I used to harvest one sack from one acre, after I started practicing FMNR, I have realized an increase in my crop produce. I now produce four to five bags from one acre”.

Veronica and Lawrence are so excited about this particular change that they have opened up more land for cultivation. Veronica currently has a four acre garden while Lawrence has a two acre garden of sorghum. They both practice inter-cropping.

These two champions are not the only ones excited about this change; a ripple effect has gone through the village. After witnessing the benefits of FMNR, three of their neighbors have opened up gardens of about two-three acres each directly opposite Veronica and Lawrence’s gardens. They have adopted FMNR and are waiting to reap the benefits. “At community level, this is the biggest change I have seen because it’s not only these three copying FMNR but many more farmers”.

Lawrence says “when I left trees in my garden, people laughed at me. Now when they saw my crop yield they started imitating what I did as you can see for yourself”. We are three champions in this village, and most farmers have now replicated what we are doing

Veronica says “with or without World Vision, we will continue practicing FMNR because our village elders and the sub-county administration have been involved. Here in Karamoja once elders endorse something, it works and FMNR has been endorsed by our elders.  In this village there are different groups or associations, whenever there is a meeting, we use the chance to advocate for FMNR

Another important change is children embracing FMNR, parents teach children while in the gardens, this approach facilitates practical learning. This change has greatly reduced incidents of fire, attitude of children towards cutting tree has also changed, through their environment clubs at school, children are taught about protecting the environment.