Uganda, often called ‘the Blue Heart of Africa’, is a country that boasts beautiful nature and forests. However, the equivalent of a football pitch disappeared every hour in Uganda for 20 years. This severe deforestation is mainly caused by the expansion of agricultural land. More and more lands are needed as most Ugandans are devoted themselves to agriculture.
In Irony, the most vulnerable groups suffering from deforestation are also farmers. Problems like landslides, soil erosion, droughts have occurred as a result of deforestation. This is not only making it difficult for farmers to cultivate lands but even threatening their safety at homes and lives. Deforestation aimed for providing better opportunities is causing back more difficulties and hardship for farmers.
However, it is a sad reality that farmers have no room for preserving the natural environment as they struggle to make ends meet to feed their children and send them school day to day.Planting trees doesn’t guarantee them any incentives to afford food or school fees for children.
Ezra, who was working for a non-governmental organization, couldn't just ignore the tears of farmers suffering from deforestation.
He wondered about ways to restore the forests while ensuring incentives for farmers. Finally, he came up with ideas that can provide farmers with additional incomes through forests and trees. Since then, Tree Resource has made its debut to solve the problem.
Tree Resource is training farmers in Uganda, especially women and the youth, about skills training for seed collection and method for raising seedlings. Farmers who completed the training are now able to sell fruits in the market and sell tree seeds back to Tree Resource.
It was not easy to persuade farmers who at first hesitated to try the new method. However, more and more people began to acknowledge the value of trees and take actions into forest restoration. Tree Resource could educate more than 500 farmers and sell seeds and seedlings to environmental NGOs for their forest restoration projects.
Ezra is still facing a lot to overcome. Tree Resource is underfunded since it is involved in agroforestry, not a well known industry by the investors. Recently, the company has been seriously affected by COVID-19. Nevertheless, Ezra can never give up his dream for change and hope.
Ezra is planning to train more women and youth to make a sustainable community and develop varieties of tree seeds. Tree Resource will use the impact donation to construct a community learning center and operate a nursery.
“My dream is to establish a seed bank for forests, farmers and the planet. Also my final goal is to develop and store more seeds, eventually restoring forests in Uganda”