Although SPGS main support (financial and technical) is to commercial growers with at least 25ha, SPGS also supports small-scale tree planting on farms by the majority rural poor. This latter support is Community Tree Planting Initiative.
What is community tree planting support?
This is where SPGS assists small holder rural farmers interested in tree planting by providing technical advice, practical training and (to some) quality tree seedlings to plant. Farmers plant and maintain trees on their own with NO cash from SPGS. Members in each community (L.C.1 village) should number 20 and above; with a minimum individual area of ½ an acre and maximum of 10 acres.
How did community tree planting support start?
SPGS community planting support is an initiative that started in October 2005. This support started as a result of numerous enquiries for both quality seedlings and technical advice. To avoid usual failures of many projects that give ‘free’ seedlings to communities to plant today and tomorrow they are no where to be seen, considerable planning was done before decision to support was made. For example effective identification and mobilization, organization, training and timely delivery of quality tree planting materials to communities were carefully thought over and planned.
Why is community tree planting necessary?
The main objective was to save the remaining natural forests by enabling communities have an alternative source of timber/poles of their own for personal use and /or sale to raise income. Other reasons for SPGS support to communities include: To increase availability of forest resources in the country. Also important was a need to build up a skilled human resource base around commercial tree planters so the two can work with common interests.
What is the current status of community support?
Table below summarizes SPGS Community Support from 2005 to 2010
No. of districts
No. of communities
No. of members
No. of seedlings supplied
Area (ha) planted (at 80% survival)
Exponential trend in SPGS community seedling supply 2005 – 2010
What is the current demand for community support?
Demand for SPGS community support is over whelming! By January 2011, demand was for over 5 million seedlings whereas SPGS now has only about 1 million seedlings remaining in budget. The old communities need to expand on their plantations whereas the new communities crave to join this support too! Demand has kept rising as a result of interest communites have developed in SPGS model of work.
How does SPGS community support work?
Step 1: Community applies to SPGS by submitting a request showing the names and areas for each member of the community. A formal reply is made and a visit by SPGS team is made to appraise community.
Step 2: Training is organised for successful communities covering basic aspects of planning, land preparation, planting, maintenance and protection of trees. Members are then informed to prepare their planting sites targeting the next rainy season.
Step 3: In consultations with community leaders, SPGS then buys and transports seedlings at the start of rainy season. Members immediately plant the seedlings as trained.
Step 4: SPGS staff in collaboration with community leaders organising regular visits to communities to offer on - spot technical advice and further training in maintenance and protection of planted trees.
Further support to a given community continues for as long as there is interest, available land and commitment to planting according to standards in the community guideline
What is SPGS doing to improve service delivery to supported communities?
- Coordinating community activities: SPGS has allocating one Plantation Officer (PO) to take full charge of coordinating community activities ranging from mobilising communities to training and supervising planting activities.
- Targeting the right communities: Support has been focused on communities surrounding SPGS clients (large scale tree growers). This has made it easier to access communities while SPGS staff inspects clients. It has also made it easier to link clients with communities so they work together as part of sustainability.
- Annual Awards: communities compete to win the Best Planter Award which is partly helping in improving planting standards. The current Award holder for 2010 is Watemu Lapainat Women’s (WALA) Group from Gulu, in northern Uganda. The group which is 100% women (though they have men behind) consists of 38 members. WALA community started receiving SPGS support in 2007 and they have planted about 14ha of Pinus caribaea trees in Opok CFR and another 26ha at their individual homes in villages surrounding Opok CFR. (please refer to photo gallery for more)
What are the challenges observed so far?
- Limited budget to meet the ever increasing seedlings demands.
- Organizational capacity of some community associations is still weak in complementing SPGS efforts in mobilizing and coordinating community tree planting work
- Competing interests. For those depending on home labour alone, food crops normally take first priority over trees when it comes to planting & weeding.
- Land tenure systems where some tenants are not allowed to plant trees since they do not permanently own land.
- Myths like eucalypt or pine trees ‘waste water’ or ‘spoil soil’ that discourage people from planting certain tree species.
Refer to community tree planting guideline [click here]