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Ugandan Women's Group Growing Fruit Trees to Fight Climate Change

On a slanting hill, Beatrice Rukanyanga looks over her lush green fruit garden boosted by weeks of steady rains, a rare occurrence in this part of the country after seasons of back-to-back droughts. Beatrice started fruit tree growing after joining the Kwatanisa Womens Group, a local group in Uganda’s Hoima district that aims to empower local women with modern farming techniques for environmental conservation and climate change adaptation.

“The weather has been much better this season,” says the 36-year old single mother. “The last three seasons were terrible with very little rains.” Droughts have been a common feature in the area in recent seasons and this climate change-induced phenomenon only confirms that Uganda is vulnerable. According to the United Nations, countries in east and central Africa received the lowest amount of rains in the last 50 years, due to El Niño induced drought.

Millions of hectares of crops were decimated leaving a record 36 million people facing hunger across the region. Although El Niño was expected, many believed that the climate phenomenon would bring more rains, but instead it brought one of the worst droughts ever recorded in the region, the UN says.

According to Monica Magambo, the group leader, Kwatanisa is carrying out fruit tree growing as a way of building resilience to the climate change reality in the area, as an environmental conservation technique as well as boosting food security. “The fruit trees conserve the environment by contributing to reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and provide protection against flooding during heavy rains,” she explains. “Fruit trees have broader leaves that can absorb carbon emissions, especially mango and jackfruit.”

Robert McClean

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