Transitioning villages to agroforestry

Mara project overview

In Mara, the extraction of resources from forests has caused local smallholder farmers to struggle with infertile soil, low water tables and erratic rainfall. Seedlings are grown in nurseries and distributed to the people that need it most.

WeForest work with two main nurseries Butiama, Kinesi and have helped build another nursery at Utegi on the 6th of May 2021. The local community are trained in these nurseries and women are especially encouraged to take up these activities.


Mara region, Northwestern Tanzania

Project timeline:
2011 - (ongoing)

Project goals:
The main aims of the project based in Mara are to: restore the native forest, increase food security, create access to clean water and promote access to medicinal and other forest products and secure a regular income for the local villages.

Circular Computing support WeForest

Circular Computing allocated 184,711 trees with WeForest for the Tanzania project since 2016.

Why intervention?

In the Mara Region of Tanzania, the untenable extraction of resources from forests has negatively impacted water, soil and climate, causing local smallholder farmers to struggle with infertile soil, low water tables and erratic rainfall.

Project stories

The human factor in Mara

One exceptional example of how local women benefit is farmer Esther, in the Butiama district.

Esther has a small plot of just 3 acres and started planting trees in 2013. Her last planting was done in 2019 and the total number planted is a little under 500 trees. She has maize, cassava, millet and beans as agricultural crops, and combines beans with Grewia trees.

Since 2011, WeForest has distributed more than 1 million tree seedlings to farmers, farmer groups, churches and schools in the Mara region of Tanzania. These trees and shrubs are planted in and around crops and pastureland, creating a forest and farming system: agroforestry. The value of an agroforestry system is in its diversity, selecting and distributing a variety of environmentally and socially appropriate tree species. Nurseries here grow between 45-70 species each year.

Families sustained by reforestation in Mara

Shida Ramasani and his family harvest timber annually from their thousands of trees, and replant after each harvest to ensure the sustainability of their livelihood.

Two hundred trees are harvested on average each year for $650. From this profit, Shida is building a new house on his father's land and was also able to purchase additional land for his sons to inherit when they come of age. Shida and Fatuma harvest firewood from their trees every 3 months for an additional $65, which goes to support the purchase of household necessities, school uniforms and books.


Generating income

Ghati Mwando has planted nearly 150 trees on the plot surrounding her home over the last 8 years.

She has been able to generate a bi-annual income from her multi-purpose trees (fuel/fodder/fertilizer). Each June and December she harvests firewood and receives an average of $15-$20.

This extra income twice a year allows her to purchase household necessities such as salt, sugar and flour. She has also used this money to boost her fish-selling business.

Ghati and her family live near the shores of Lake Victoria, and so she can purchase fish directly from fishermen and then sell them in the larger town of Musoma at a profit.


Project benefits

Ecological restoration

Through agroforestry systems on their farms, the farmers and institutional beneficiaries are able to grow their own fodder, fuelwood, fibre, fruit and timber, and so no longer need to depend on local forest stands for consumption or income generation.

This farm landscape restoration ultimately means forests have the opportunity to regenerate and are conserved for the long-term. In addition, the woody perennials planted improve soil fertility and water recharge, increasing crop yields and pastureland fodder for livestock. Fruit and timber trees provide food, fuelwood and shade.

Livelihood development

Beneficiaries of this project include smallholder farmers and institutions such as schools and churches.

Agroforestry improves and conserves all natural resources - water, soil, biodiversity - on their land so that they are able to continuously grow and sell their own food and woody products instead of extracting and clearing local forests.

Together we can make more of these projects become a reality

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