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Planting 25 million trees

24th August 2021 Article

One, two, tree and counting…

All stages of coffee growing are linked to seasonal weather patterns. Farmers use these patterns, with knowledge passed down the generations to know when to plant or harvest for example, similarly to farmers in Wales. But recently, the weather has become so unpredictable, it is difficult for farmers to know when to do what.

The changing weather also causes damage to the soil, with mudslides becoming more frequent and ferocious, described as “the ground giving way”. The coffee too is vulnerable, with hailstorms, or too much bright sunlight all causing problems. Hail can damage the cherries and the beans inside; too much rain can bring new pests and diseases. This puts farmers’ livelihoods at risk, with a loss of income impacting their families’ health and education.

Planting trees and producing coffee

For years now, the farmers who produce Jenipher’s Coffi have been using agroforestry, an approach to land management where trees or shrubs are planted around or among crops or pastureland. For example, coffee trees are planted alongside banana trees and larger trees, which all bring benefits. A Welsh Government programme known as the Mbale Trees Programme, run by Size of Wales has long been supporting communities on and around Mt Elgon with tree planting, with the aim of planting 25,000,000 trees by 2025.

The programme, which aims to raise awareness of the advantages of tree planting and supports communities to combat the impacts of climate change works on a system where seedlings are first nurtured in multiple nurseries, before being distributed locally to farmers, schools, businesses and individuals to plant.

For coffee farmers, planting a variety of trees comes with multiple benefits. Here’s Nimrod to explain more about the project and its benefits…

While the focus of the Mbale Trees Programme is on planting long term trees, short terms trees and shrubs such as Calliandra and Sesbania are also planted. These can be harvested for firewood or fodder, allowing the long term trees to establish and grow to provide environmental benefits and soil stability.

What are the benefits of the different trees that are planted?

Grevillea Robusta is a fast-growing, evergreen tree that is fairly drought resistant. Grevillea has deep roots meaning it doesn’t compete for water, nutrients or sunlight with surrounding crops. Its timber can be used to make furniture and fencing.

The Maesposis Emini or Umbrella Tree is another fast-growing tree, that can live for 200 years! Its leaves can be used as fodder (food) for animals, such as cows, and the trees provide excellent shade for coffee trees.

Fruit trees, such as avocado and jackfruit are fast-growing and provide fruit and nutrition. They can also provide income if sold. Here’s Jenipher to explain a little more…

The trees that are planted bring many benefits, providing sustainable supplies of food, fuel and shelter, as well as improved incomes, alleviating poverty. They are also protecting local communities from the effects of soil erosion caused by deforestation, which can lead to deadly mudslides and assist with climate change mitigation. At a global level, these millions of trees will help to tackle climate change by absorbing vast amounts of carbon.

For growing coffee, planting trees helps to; shade the coffee, protect the coffee from hail storms, enrich the soil, improve coffee quality, and increase productivity (research has shown by 150%). By choosing Jenipher’s Coffi, you are supporting farmers to reverse deforestation, mitigate and tackle climate change, and produce quality coffee, helping to support their families and community.

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