Onfarm conservation of indigenous plant species in Mayuge District
Farmers in the Mayuge district of Uganda are increasingly relying on monoculture sugarcane cultivation that depend on adapted plant species. Monocultural farming systems reduce plant diversity and threaten native plant species. To counteract, the IKI Small Grants project strengthens the conservation of declining native plants through natural resource management for 250 households. The project identifies and documents threatened native plants and prioritises them for propagation using improved agricultural practices. Smallholder farmers are supported to establish community seed banks, tree nurseries, and backyard gardens, cultivating indigenous plants. In addition, the project improves the availability, accessibility, and sustainable use of these plants by promoting their use through radio posts and print campaigns. A dialogue with communal policy makers is initiated to formulate on-farm biodiversity conservation ordinances and to politically anchor project interventions.
Mayuge district in Uganda is located about 120 km East of Kampala. Subsistence agriculture is the main source of income for the local population. The rapidly growing population has contributed to deforestation of the original tropical forest vegetation and to a huge decline of native plant species. The agricultural focus of the population leads to the conversion of forest land into agricultural land and the use of mainly adapted plant species. In addition, local farmers use large areas of land for the commercial cultivation of sugar cane. The lack of awareness of the importance of maintaining biodiversity on agricultural land in the region as well as lacking decision-making power of women and the inadequate enforcement of biodiversity laws lead to an intensification of the problem.
The project primarily targets local communities with 500 direct beneficiaries in 250households. In addition, the project reaches another 1,175 household members (average household size 4.7) and local radio listeners. The project works with 10 existing farmer groups to implement its interventions. Through participatory approaches, communities are involved in all project activities. To strengthen local ownership, the project appoints community facilitators to monitor, control and document project activities. It empowers group members to conserve biodiversity on their private farms by passing on their traditional knowledge and skills.
APPROACH AND ACTIVITIES
The IKI Small Grants project strengthens the conservation of declining native plant species through natural resource management initiatives for 250 households in Mayuge district. The project aims to improve the availability, accessibility and sustainable use of indigenous plant species by educating the people of Busoga region and Mayuge district on the importance of conserving plant biodiversity.
The project identifies and documents native plants threatened with extinction in cooperation with the local population. A sub-target group (organised through membership) is selected to advance the cultivation of endangered plant species, using improved cultivation methods. Farmers further disseminate the produced planting material (mostly seeds) to improve its availability, accessibility and sustainable use. They establish community seed banks, backyard gardens, tree nurseries and demonstration forests to ensure the revival of indigenous plant species.
In addition to this, the visibility of the project and awareness raising is strengthened through print media and radio.
As a third pillar, the project implements a dialogue with policy makers at the local government level to formulate on-farm plant diversity conservation ordinances. It is particularly important for the project to empower women in decision-making processes in the local communities, as well as to strengthen the dissemination of indigenous and local knowledge and to include it in all sub-activities.
IKI Small Grants supports AUPWAE in their organisational capacity development through:
- A workshop on lobbying, advocacy, and negotiation skills for biodiversity conservation for the preparation of policy briefs
- A workshop on proposal writing, to improve proposals for different funding mechanisms
- A training in packaging and marketing of indigenous agricultural products
- A training on finance management for non-finance managers
ABOUT THE ORGANISATION
AUPWAE was founded in 1992 and registered as a non-profit organization in 1998 with a mandate to operate in all districts of Uganda. AUPWAE has 300 female professionals working in both the private and the public sector in all regions of Uganda.
AUPWAE´s mission is to promote improved welfare of rural women, the girl child and professional women by advocating and lobbying for policies and interventions which create opportunities for their skills and knowledge development