ALTERNATIVE INCOMES - EXPLORING THE CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT
LINKAGES - THE CASE OF COFFEE IN UGANDA
· Provide for alternative supplies of major resources (fuel, poles etc) through promoting on-farm tree resources, and
· Provide for livelihood and income strategies by stakeholder communities that reduce natural resource dependence.
This project is thus an Integrated Conservation and Development Project (ICDP),
which seeks to meet conservation goals and social priorities of the people.
The participatory intervention planning process has led to interventions
to integrate conservation and community needs.
of the most difficult issues in design and implementation of ICDPs is that of
linkages between livelihood interventions and conservation goals.
Many such projects (including this one) are designed on the basic
hypothesis that one of the major causes for loss of biodiversity is the
over-exploitation of resources due to the lack of alternative livelihood options
available to resident populations. Indeed the site action planning process
brought this to the fore. The interventions to tackle this problem were
therefore based on the assumption that if alternative livelihood options are
developed for local people, biodiversity loss will be reduced.
This broad assumption needs to be critically and carefully assessed before
starting implementation. Many projects have run into problems in establishing
linkages between “development” activities and "conservation" goals
because of failure to appreciate the complexities of this issue. The hypothesis
is an “attractive” one to many partners (especially within district and
national governments, and even donor groups) as it establishes the development
of livelihood options as an intervention strategy. There is, therefore, often
considerable “pressure” within ICDPs to pursue this option as a priority.
This has sometimes led to projects getting into a range of livelihood
interventions without adequate analysis and assessment of their linkages with
· At most sites in this project, there are interventions planned around the broad hypothesis mentioned above. It is therefore important to understand and assess conservation-development at each site carefully to make sure that development interventions contribute either directly or indirectly to conservation goals. Some of the interventions that have been discussed and developed by project partners together with the communities include;
· Improved Agriculture in Sango Bay,
· Beekeeping in Timu and Morungole in Kotido,
· Passion fruit growing in Rakai
· Reduction of post harvest losses in Napak and Kadam.
The regional consultancy planning input helped to examine the issue of
conservation-development linkages in some detail as livelihood activities were
being planned / undertaken at sites. There was need to generate a better
understanding on the complexities of the linkages and the number of assumptions
that need to be identified and addressed. It was made clear that even a part of
a development activity requires a lot of planning and inputs to work in a
conservation context and that we need to be careful when developing such
We describe one example here where the proposed development has been
evaluated. We use this as a test case for discussion with our Mid-Term Review
Case of Promoting Coffee Growing by Sango Bay Forests in Uganda
One ongoing livelihood activity has had the opportunity to be examined in
detail. The activity that has been initiated in Sango Bay is promoting the
cultivation of coffee as a cash crop.. The objective was to analyse c-d linkages
and assumptions in more detail and to identify supporting activities needed to
ensure that the development interventions contribute to conservation goals. The
activity was looked at for its contribution to livelihood development, its
conservation impacts and sustainability. The Table shows the results of the
discussions and analysis.
Table 1: An
Analysis of C-D Links: The Case of Coffee Farming for Sango Bay
Hypothesis: Promoting coffee growing amongst farmers (charcoal
burners) will lead to a reduction in use of resources for charcoal and
help to conserve biodiversity in Sango Bay
There is a market for the coffee
additional coffee on market?
Charcoal burners can be given adequate skills to convert to coffee growing
realistic if they are not even doing effective farming at this point
(which is why they are doing charcoal burning)?
There is willingness and motivation within the target group for this.
was this? Who prioritised it?
The target group has adequate land and resources to take up coffee growing in a “substantial” way
Is this the
case? Or are they the ones with less land and less capital to get into a
The right target group can be identified and most of the people within this group can be targeted
What if only
a few or part of the group is targeted? What about others? Will they
simply hire additional labour to meet the demand for charcoal?
The amount of income generated from coffee growing is adequate to compensate for giving up charcoal burning
How much are
they getting from charcoal? How much are they likely to get from coffee?
coffee will be grown?
Agreement can be reached and implemented on conservation regulations, roles and responsibilities
What level of
understanding/buy in on this is there?
Adequate resources and capacity is available for promoting and
sustaining this initiative
project the right agency for promoting cash cropping within a community?
There is political support for the initiative
Is this the
main support? What is the motivation?
There are no negative long-term social or ecological impacts
happening to the continued demand for charcoal? Are we simply shifting
the pressure elsewhere? Is this acceptable? Should the project also look
into reducing the demand for charcoal?
What is the way forward?
Project partners have discussed and evaluated scenarios.
Coffee has been a main cash crop in Uganda for a long time. Prices are
stable in country. The additional coffee may not significantly change supply
volumes as to affect market prices.
Skills are available within the identified charcoal burners and coffee is
not a complicated crop to manage. The introduced coffee is an improved crop and
the charcoal burners have expressed interest and excitement in growing the
coffee. Discussions with stakeholders indicated that the income from coffee is
more than adequate to compensate for the giving up of charcoal burning.
Additionally, it was noted that coffee tending required little effort to tend
compared to the charcoal activity. The charcoal burning is not a very profitable
activity and charcoal burners have acknowledged this and are eager to move to do
something else. There is, as expected, tremendous political support especially
at LC3 level. And finally as this
intervention was developed through a participatory planning process, the project
was tempted to take it on. What
about if it doesn’t work? This is
where more sharing of ideas is necessary.
As the project moves deeper into implementation, it is important that lessons and ideas are regularly shared and discussed between the stakeholders and between the sites because of both the similarities and the differences in many of the initiatives being developed at the various sites. This is critical to both ensure cross-border linkages and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the project. It would also help to build staff capacity when ideas and approaches are regularly shared and discussed. Mechanisms to enable sharing, learning and ensuring consistency need to be enhanced.
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