The rains have come to Mbale which means tree planting season is well and truly underway! The Nursery Bed Operators at the 39 tree nurseries in Mbale and the surrounding districts have been busily tending to the seedlings readying them to be distributed across the area. The trees are distributed for free to farmers, schools, families and anybody else who wants to plant trees.
The nurseries grow species that serve all sorts of purposes for the people of Mbale. For example, maesopsis eminii (or the umbrella tree) is a drought resistant tree that can be used to mark boundaries. As the name suggests, its canopy is wide like an umbrella providing shade for people and coffee plants alike. Coffee grows well under shade in the high altitude of Mount Elgon area. Nurseries also grow trees that provide fodder and fuel wood due to their ability to grow fast and resprout providing a sustainable supply. In addition to this, a wide range of fruit trees such as mango, avocado and guava are grown. These provide a nutritious diet and a source of income through sales of the fruits.
Throughout April, a total of 416,021 seedlings were planted. 68,327 of these were fruit trees, and 38,462 for fodder. These fantastic planting figures continue to bring us ever closer to the target of ten million trees. What a celebration that will be when the ten millionth tree goes in the ground!