In 21A Season, One Acre Fund-TUBURA in partnership with the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Board and the Rwanda Forestry Authority, has embarked on a drive to distribute 15 million agroforestry trees to farmers in 23 districts across the country.
Founded in 2007 in Rwanda, One Acre Fund-TUBURA is an agricultural development organization serving 600,000 farming families from 27 districts.
The organization also trains farmers on the latest agricultural practices and how to sell harvest surplus and offer other products, like solar lights, which improves life quality.
Jean Paul Gisa, the staff in charge of the tree-planting program in One Acre Fund-TUBURA said that the idea to help farmers with agroforestry trees started in 2016, intending to help farmers increase agricultural productivity and diversify their source of income.
Through it partnership with RAB on Twigire Muhinzi, One Acre Fund-TUBURA and RAB are working with Farmer promoters across the country to distribute the 15 million agroforestry trees to farmers in the districts of Rwamagana, Kayonza, Ngoma, Bugesera, Gatsibo, Nyagatare, Kirehe, Gicumbi, Musanze, Gakenke, Burera, Ngorororero, Rutsiro, Karongi, Nyamasheke, Nyamagabe, Rusizi, Nyaruguru, Huye, Muhanga, Nyanza, Ruhango and Gisagara,
Each cell in the 23 districts receives trees, and the target is to reach 65% of the total households.
In line with Rwanda’s target of cultivating agroforestry trees on 85 percent of cultivable land, each farmer receives between 10 and 12 trees on average.
“Agroforestry produces leaves that serve as manure for farmers that will increase agricultural productivity. Besides that, once grown up, these trees will be harvested to generate more income,” he said.
Farmers produce stakes from the trees to support crops such as beans, timber, and firewood, besides environmental benefits, including erosion control and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Gisa said that One Acre Fund-TUBURA worked closely with districts, Rwanda Forestry Authority, and Rwanda Agricultural and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB) to deliver trees to farmers.
“We are distributing these trees for free to make them affordable for farmers. There is also a plan to set up tree nurseries at the cell level, where possible in half of the country,” he said.
Out of the 15 million agroforestry trees, One Acre Fund-TUBURA will distribute 13.6 million trees from central nurseries in Gisagara, Rusizi, Karongi, Musanze, Ngoma, and Kayonza to each cell across 21 districts.
Additionally, One Acre Fund-TUBURA in partnership with local entrepreneurs will distribute 1.6 million trees from decentralized nurseries where farmers walk to a local nursery to pick up trees in two districts of Nyaruguru and Nyamagabe. Through this partnership, the local entrepreneurs are also generating a significant source of income.
As part of the government push to plant trees on consolidated land, One Acre Fund-TUBURA is partnering with Rwanda Forestry Authority and three districts of Rwamagana, Kirehe, and Bugesera to plant trees on consolidated land only.
On Saturday, November 21, agroforestry trees were distributed to farmers and planted in Rwamagana district on the Gishari site. One Acre Fund-TUBURA will plant over 2 million trees on consolidated land in Gishari.
Gisa added that this year, One Acre Fund-TUBURA also distributed about 60,000 avocado trees to support the government initiative to promote fruit trees for every family in Rwanda.
The organization will also plant 2,500 avocado seedlings in every district to support the government’s fruit tree campaign.
Jean de Dieu Niyitanga, Director of Agriculture and Natural Resources Unit in Rwamagana District, said that this year, the district has to plant agroforestry trees on 1,446 hectares.
“We want to reach this target under the current tree planting season in partnership with partners including One Acre Fund-TUBURA. We are currently at 60 percent and will reach 100 percent by the end of November,” he said.
He said the planted tree species could control erosion; provide timber, manure, and animal forage for cows.
He noted in partnership with partners including One Acre Fund-TUBURA, they will set up tree nurseries at the cell level.
Farmers welcome the initiative
Wellars Sibomana, a farmer in Gishari sector of Rwamagana District, said: “The trees will help us a lot. Besides providing fresh air, fighting erosion and land degradation, we will get stakes for supporting beans. We will also get timber. We used to buy saplings, but we are happy that we get them at free cost.”
Daniel Sibomana, another farmer, said that they used to buy trees from tree nursery owners at one Kilometre from their homes, adding the price was not affordable for every farmer.
“We are now relieved to get trees for free,” he said.
He said fruit trees are also timely support.
Emeline Mukamana added, “Previously, our land had no trees, but we enjoy a good climate even during dry season thanks to trees. We are also planting beans that require stakes since we will get them from these trees.”