Kahwa doubles produce after growing crops with trees

July 19, 2016

by Loyce Mugisa – FMNR Network Uganda 

Kahwa is a married woman living in Masaka parish. She is a trained FMNR farmer who has put her knowledge into practice and has realized benefits. In 2013, she was trained as a an FMNR champion by World Vision. She learnt that protecting trees has a long term benefit to the environment and also immediate tangible benefits.

Like other farmers in her village, Kahwa depends on growing crops for her livelihood. But she had difficulties in growing enough food for family consumption and selling. Her average yield from one acres of land was 2 bags (300kg) of beans. Her neighbors experience similar challenges. However for Kahwa, the story has changed.

In the last rain season, Kahwa prepared an acre of land for planting beans, the difference this time however, was that put her knowledge on FMNR into practice. She did not cut down all the trees as had been the practice; she instead decided to leave about 25 trees of different species to provide shade for her crops. Kahwa is a member of a local CBO called NASEKO which provides farmers with seeds. Kahwa and her two friends from the same village obtained 40kg of bean seeds each and planted them. One of her friends planted her beans in a cassava garden while the second friend planted on bare ground without any shade.

Throughout their growth, Kahwa’s beans were very strong and healthy, passersby always stopped to admire them. At harvest time, Kahwa harvested 750kg of beans, the second friend who planted in a cassava garden harvested 350kg while the who planted on bare ground harvested about 170kg. Kahwa attributes her great yield to practicing FMNR which allowed for adequate shade and manure from the natural tree mulch the soil. She is very happy with the high crop yield. She says that; “when I allowed trees in the garden to grow alongside beans, my neighbors said that I had wasted the garden and my beans would not survive. But when the beans grew very healthy, People would ask for the secret behind my success.”

I have been the admiration of my village” says Kahwa. “Whenever people pass by my garden, they would admire my beans and ask how I managed to produce such high quality yield. I would then take the opportunity to explain to them about FMNR.”

Kahwa says that for her, the most significant change from practicing FMNR has been increased ability to provide for her family. “From the 5 sacks of beans I harvested, i took one sack to my children’s primary school, it is a requirement for parents to contribute towards their children’s lunch at school.” She has already sold 1 sack; she intends to sell 2more sacks when the price for beans rises. She intends to save one sack for family consumption and seed for planting next season. At harvest time, beans were being sold for 2300 shillings per kilogram.