Scaling of Agroforestry for Poverty Reduction and Improved Livelihoods

Masaka and District Landcare Chapter (MADLACC)

Project Location: Eastern Region, Uganda
Project Partner: Masaka and District Landcare Chapter (MADLACC)

Start Date: July 2016

Est. completion Date: August 2017

In 2016/17 MADLACC plans to work with 500 households, a farmer group and 2 schools to increase farm productivity and income, build local capacity, and plant 25,500 fruit and agroforestry trees.


MADLACC is a community-based organisation focused on sustainable land management, located in Masaka District, close to Lake Victoria.  The MADLACC ethos is based on the concept of Landcare; collective action, partnership and networking of community groups in addressing climate change, land and food security challenges.

MADLACC is very much a local organisation, working to address local challenges through local solutions.  Its Coordinator, Mathias Wakulira, is a local farmer and MADLACC operates out of the Masaka District Agriculture office: local government technical and education officers form part of the team.  At the same time it has benefited from technical support from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) – the Landcare approach originates from Australia.  MADLACC is model of how to bring together practical skills, local institutional support and international expertise.

ITF Project Involvement

ITF supported MADLACC’s Agroforestry project from 2014 to early 2015.  The project established four community tree nurseries and worked to raise understanding of the value of agroforestry.  ‘This in itself is a big achievement because the communities now know how good trees are, and are willing to continue to undertake agroforestry unlike before… They now have sources of planting materials, and can produce their own seedlings, and graft their own fruit trees.’

68 community leaders and 542 community members (389 women and 221 men) were trained.  Farmers planted 25,500 agroforestry trees, including leguminous, nitrogen-fixing and soil improving species such as Calliandra, Albizia, Sesbania and Grevillea, but also Avocadoes, Mangoes and the fine indigenous timber tree Mvule (Milicia excelsa or Iroko).

Paul Laird (ITF Programmes Manager) visited the project in April 2016, almost a year after the ITF funding came to close, and met several of the farmers who had become keen agroforesters: adding mangoes, jackfruit, soursop, and avocado trees to their staple crops of maize and cassava, and coffee the main cash crop.  Bananas are planted and mulched in deep pits and there are contour ditches for water catchment. Calliandra hedges provide fodder for stall-fed cows, and Sesbania and Albizia grow well as intercrop trees.  One young farmer group has gone on to develop an impressive tree nursery to provide seedlings for their own use and for sale including a new disease-resistant coffee variety.

In other cases, however, trees that were planted on farm boundaries were uprooted by neighbours, who did not understand their value, and there is still relatively little appreciation for indigenous species.  Two years of drought also affected the trees: just under 15,000 trees survived at the last count.

Junior Landcare Programme

A particular strength of the project is the ‘Junior Landcare’ Programme implemented at primary schools. Butale Primary School has 492 children and still maintains a small tree nursery.  Pawpaws, Avocadoes, Mangoes, Calliandra and Grevillea trees are thriving in the school compound, alongside Bananas, vegetables, and grass lines for soil conservation.  Trees were provided to the children’s parents at a small cost.  The children perform dances, songs and poems about environmental issues, and there is a focus on empowerment of girls.

The school reports very significant impacts: academic performance has improved; it has become a learning centre for other schools; food production and nutrition have improved especially for children who need good food to support HIV treatment; school meal costs have been reduced; and community trust in the school has grown.  Parents are learning about tree planting, soil conservation and nutrition from their children.  As the headmaster says, if each child plants and cares for just 2 trees per year, it has a multiplier effect.  The commitment of the headmaster, teachers and children are impressive.

Future Aims

MADLACC has learned lessons from the first project and feels that much more needs to be done.  Mathias Wakulira says ‘Despite all these achievements, the longer term impact of poverty reduction and improved livelihoods has not yet been successfully realized. The time period for the planted trees to bring this impact to the community is too short. However, whatever is achieved will lead to the realization of the impact in the near future to come.

In 2016/17, MADLACC aims to work with 500 households, one farmer group and two schools in new villages, as well as supporting existing groups, working towards the overall aims of increasing farm productivity, and farmer incomes, and building local capacity to produce and plant their own trees.  They expect to plant 25,500 fruit and agroforestry trees.

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