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THE ROLE OF SMALL FOREST BASED ENTERPRISES (FBE's) IN ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION AND LIVELIHOOD IMPROVEMENT IN UGANDA.

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THE ROLE OF SMALL FOREST BASED ENTERPRISES (FBE's) IN ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION AND LIVELIHOOD IMPROVEMENT IN UGANDA.

Post by sol_drethedon on Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:21 am

THE ROLE OF SMALL FOREST BASED ENTERPRISES(FBE's) IN ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION AND LIVELIHOOD
IMPROVEMENT IN UGANDA.

Small forest enterprises and their associations offer particular advantages for poverty reduction. These enterprises offer employment to many communities living around forests and thus contribute to improving livelihoods. However, high rates of deforestation continue to threaten our climate and biodiversity. In the latest report of a study undertaken by the National Biomass Study (NBS) unit of NFA (2008),

Uganda's forest cover has reduced from 24% to 17% of total land area of the country between 1990 and 2005. It should however be noted that most of the degradation has been on private forests. As a result, forest cover on private land has reduced from 70 to 64% of the total land population (NFA, 2008)

The forest frontiers also have a high incidence of poverty; avoiding deforestation while simultaneously reducing poverty is a perpetual challenge. One of the only economic alternatives to agricultural conversion at the forest frontier is sustainable forest enterprise. Governments are however often reluctant to give control over forest resources to local people. In many countries, structures that connect small forest enterprises and their associations to markets, service providers and policy processes are weak.

Bee Keeping

Not until of recent, bee keeping was realized as a profitable business by majority of our local farmers. The activity has become a genuine income generating activity by those involved and saved the encroachment on natural resources including forests. A jerican of unprocessed honey goes for up to 65,000/= and many customers buy unprocessed honey. Though majority of the farmers lack the incentives to process and sell processed honey, they still realize some income out of this.

Fruit Growing

Fruits like jack fruit, avocados, mangoes are widely grown in the country. Though the production is still at individual level, different stakeholders and groups are beginning to take up the initiative as a result of the many trainings and exposure in sustainable farming and protection of natural resources. The markets are mainly urban cities, where six mangoes are sold at 2000/=. A sack of avocados goes for about 15,000/= to 20,000/=. A jack fruit goes for an average of 1,500/= to 3,000/= depending on the size. Such incomes improve the living conditions of majority of the household farmers and also significantly reduce the rate at which the natural resources would have been degraded in many parts of the country.

Hand Crafts Enterprises

The Kisa women group is located in Gimbo village, Lukwanga parish, Wakiso sub-county in Wakiso district. Their products include baskets, mats and handbags made from local forest resources such as palm leaves. The group has a common purpose and objectives backing their collective production efforts and continued existence. Their collectiveness is defined by common and core values such as improving forest resource based benefits to their community and members, improving the quality of life for members, ensuring sustainable use of forest resources, collectively promote the crafts business and market their products. This is however topped up by a joint garden where local crops including bananas, cassava and pig rearing are carried out.

Development Analysis

At production level, the fruits and other related activities such as bee keeping provide good yields which earns the farmers additional income that is used to provide the basic necessities of the households like school fees, salt, soap to mention but a few.

At social level, the farmers and farmer groups organize meetings and trainings which unite the households and they have attracted non-member households to join. The groups gain visibility of government agencies like NAADS and the forest department who are planning to provide extension services to communities in these areas through the structures. The growing of fruits supports environment and natural resources which contributes significantly to the sustainable cultivation of the fruits and general livelihoods of the communities.

Environmental Aspect

Community households practice small scale farming on pieces of fertile agricultural land formally occupied by forest and game reserves. Raw materials for these household enterprises are picked from forest land, which is still virgin and therefore fertile. Group members practice agriculture just basically for meeting food needs of their households. In such groups where local products such as soap are made out of local materials, activities do not need a lot of water to process the products, and therefore practices that could have resulted into water contamination are eliminated at all stages of production.

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sol_drethedon

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