KAMPALA —The biggest farmer-led land restoration programme that is privately funded ever undertaken in the world has been launched Uganda.
The program aims to benefit small-scale farmers in six African countries.
About 1.5 million smallholder farming families or rather about 9 million people across six African countries namely Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia will benefit from the Global EverGreening Alliance’s Restore Africa Programme aims to restore 1.9 million hectares of land.
The commitment to finance the Restore Africa Programme was announced by Climate Asset Management at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021.
The Programme will also significantly contribute to the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), which aims to bring at least 100 million hectares of degraded land under restoration by 2030.
Niek de Goeij, Chief of Party for the project in Uganda said the the Alliance was created with the aim of building the capacity of non-governmental organizations and small-scale farmers with the aim of reducing food insecurity, curbing climate change, and rural poverty.
“We are thrilled that after years of effort, the Restore Africa program is finally starting. We are grateful to the Ministry of Water and the Environment, our consortium partners, Climate Asset Management, and the Global Evergreening Alliance for their support and leadership to get us here. In the years to come, we will collaborate to strengthen green and sustainable livelihoods to Ugandan smallholder farmers, while contributing to Uganda’s NDP3, Vision 2040, and the fight against climate change, ” Niek de Goeij said.
Restore Africa Programme represents 10 years of work with a collaborative design by lots of cycles from the across six countries and each said country has a lead implementing organization in each country and these organizations have worked together for four years now designing a massive scale collaborative restoration program.
Climate Asset Management will use an innovative financing mechanism to provide funds to Restore Africa, that connects several international agencies with grassroots farmers to make restoration happen on a massive scale.
“Uganda has one of the most ambitious targets for this program and we think we are up to the challenge to lead efforts of land restoration in the country,” said Dr Jonathan Muriuki, Interim Restore Africa Programme Manager
On her part, Dr Joy Tukahirwa National Coordinator Uganda Land Care explained that poor land management practices, extreme weather events and population pressure has escalated degradation.
Climate change leads to infertile land and reduced productive capacity of the land bringing about famine, environmental hazards, high food prices, increased droughts, rising oceans and lakes, healthy risks, species, loss of bio diversity.
“Our target is to raise the forest cover in Uganda from 13% – 15% by the year 2026 and by 2030 we can assume a growth of up to 18% – 24 by the year 2040,” Dr. Tukahirwa confrimed.
Stephen Mugabi, the Director Environment Affairs commmeded the private sector-led programme and committed his ministry’s support.
“I want to commit on behalf of the Ministry of Water and Environment, that we are in total support of this project and we’re going to do whatever it takes for it to be successful”.