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Farmers In Tree Planting Drive 

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Arnest Tumwesige

Farmers in Pader district have started massive planting of tangerines in a bid to boost environmental conservation and household incomes.

So far, over 11,700 and 6,800 seedlings for Sudan tick trees and tangerines respectively have been distributed. A total of 4,500 South Sudan tick trees were distributed to 26 groups, plus 10 tangerine seedlings for each household in the benefi ciary sub-counties.

The 26 beneficiary groups that received the seedlings from Pader town council are from the four sub-counties of Pajule, Angagura, Paula, Lapul and Pader town council.  

Samuel Odong, a 31-year-old from Ribe Aye Teko Olokilee farmers group, was glad that as a group, the distribution coincided with the sensitisation campaign that they had already started on the importance of planting trees. Located in Pader town council with 40 members, Odong said farmers were yearning for tree seedlings.  

Other farmers like David Okello from Angagura sub-county said the initiative by LM International and Pader district builds on the efforts that they started three years ago. Okello said they are in a group of 30 members and have so far planted trees on 10 acres. 

 “Our plan is to take up tree planting as a business, but also as a source of improving food security by growing food trees such as tangerines, avocado, and jack fruits,” he said. Milly Akello of Wamak Tic Saving Group in Pader town council said the seedlings will help improve and mitigate the effects of climate change. 

 Over 1,950kg of hybrid soya bean seeds were also distributed, with each group getting 75kg for joint planting. The district was chosen under the climate change mitigation, adaptation for economic livelihood and environmental resilience project implemented by LM International and Pader local government as a pilot project. Moses Okure, the LM programme manager, said the establishment of carbon trading in the district still faces challenges due to the unwillingness of locals to disclose their total land acreage and title deeds as a measure of getting full support.  

Martin Okello, the Pader district forest officer, said about 50% to 60% of the district’s forest cover is still intact. However, he said four local forest reserves and one central forest reserve have been severely encroached on since the return of people from internally displaced people’s camps. Okello cited Acholibur town council, which sits on a forest reserve, part of Pajule forest reserve cleared for cultivation, Awere central forest reserve that is currently hosting the government-aided St Kizito Primary School, on one acre.  

Atanga and Angagura forest reserves have been partially cleared by the locals and the Government respectively to pave the way for cultivation. Despite the encroachment, the officer said there had been little efforts made to restore the affected areas, apart from conducting sensitisation to create awareness in the community. The district is, however, into massive nursery tree seedling establishment, but due to high demand, they are not enough. 

 “Last year, the district distributed 4,000 tangerine seedlings. Due to high demand, the seedlings are being stolen from the gardens, an indicator of a supply gap which calls for partners to come in,” he said. 

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