Loy Mulekhwa is the chairperson of the Bumlema Yetaana Women’s Group and is a coffee farmer. The group run and manage a tree nursery, in a dry and arid region at risk of windstorms in Mbale District. In 2010 Loy planted shade trees to protect her coffee crops, which she received through the 10 Million Tree project supported by Size of Wales and the Welsh Government.
“The tree planting project has helped a lot; firstly the shade from the trees has protected my coffee from the sun. My house is in a corridor where we have many windstorms, so the trees have acted like a windbreak to protect my old house. We also receive lots of fresh air from the trees and I get to sit in their shade instead of in the sun.”
“The improved coffee harvest has really boosted my income – is has nearly doubled due to a second harvest of coffee beans, which has meant I’ve sold coffee worth 1 million Ugandan Shillings this year, (approx. £200) which is a lot for a small scale farmer like me.”
“As a group we work on many tree planting activities; we sow seeds, pot them when they grow, we water and tend to them. We then distribute the trees to group members and other people in the local area. The trees are healthy and help our crops improve. I’m happy; the project has made me happy.”
“The community have come together through tree planting. We have learnt to work together, and the women have been uplifted, we are now seen as important people in the community, people come to our group to get trees now. We also have a group saving scheme, we put a bit of money in a pool and we give it to others in the group to support them, and they pay it back. We also now advise others in the group about things like fuel saving stoves to reduce on wood use.”
“The project has helped my family; my children have learnt the skills of nursery bed management, we have fresh cool air and our income has improved from better coffee harvests. My family has benefitted so that we can pay for school fees, medication and extra food. Tending to the trees and the nursery is now my real job other than farming. I treasure the project so much.”