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Meet A Farmer: Petrol Khinda

December 2nd, 2015

Petrol Khinda

Community: Nthanga
Year joined: 2008
Number of trees planted: 433 trees in 13×100-meter segments of boundary plantings
Carbon benefit created by Sinoliyamu: 106 tonnes of CO2
Earnings to date: $276
Total expected earnings: $460 (over 10 years, based on successful maintenance of plantings)

Petrol Khinda decided to join the Clinton Development Initiative’s Trees of Hope project in Malawi because he wanted to improve soil fertility on his farm. Prior to this, he had been farming on a degraded land, yielding low crop harvests. After learning about the different species of trees that can help to restore soil fertility, Petrol started growing trees and integrating them into his farmland.

Petrol has used his earnings from carbon credits he’s generated to purchase inorganic farm inputs. These include granulated urea, a bag of which he is proudly displaying in the above photo. It supplements the organic input sources, locally referred to as “green manure,” from the trees he is growing. He believes that he will have a bumper yield this year, which will provide plenty of food for his household throughout the remainder of the year.

Support Farmers Like Petrol


Create income for farming families of the Clinton Development Initiative’s Trees of Hope project here and learn more about the project at COTAP.org/Malawi.

Meet A Farmer: Daniel Mukhwana (and friends!)

November 11th, 2015

In this ‘Farmer Focus’ episode by Ecotrust, Communications and Public Relations Officer Jonah Butsatsa interviews Daniel Mukhwana, a Trees for Global Benefits (TGB) participant and beneficiary.

Daniel is a soft-spoken family man who lives in the Manafwa district of Eastern Uganda and is making efforts to plan and use his land sustainably. Not only is he a TGB participant, but he has also both recruited several of his peers into the program and helped train them by passing on the capacity given to him by Ecotrust.

Word-of-Mouth Program Growth Within Local Communities


Daniel explains to Jonah, who is also known locally as ‘Mandu,’ how Ecotrust recruited him, his progress in planting trees, and his plans to add more. Joining Daniel to his left are Wango Emmanuel, who’s considering joining the program, and Steven Kimiyanyi, who already has.

Wango came to learn more about the program’s environmental and economic benefits, which he’d heard about through Daniel. Wango’s enrollment into the program would be key, because he’s chairman of the local youth organization. He’s a direct and important ambassador to the next generation and can thus pass on not only knowledge about the many important roles trees play, but also technical know-how on how to plant and care for them.

Steven, who is a registered TGB participant like Daniel, explains the straightforward agreement between himself and Ecotrust. “They taught us that if we plant trees, they will help us,” he says. “If we want after they have grown, and we’ve looked after them we can get money to educate our children.” Later in the interview Steven adds how Ecotrust instilled in him the importance of sharing program benefits with his family. “They told us do not keep the money for yourself and not share with your wife and children,” he says. “These trees have to be there, and so it is important that you work with your family and share with them. Otherwise, you will be gone one day and come back only to find that they have cut them down.”

Diverse Species, Inter-Planting, and Benefit Sharing


As the group takes a mini-tour of some of Daniel’s land, he explains that some plantings end up drying out due to the heat, but when that happens they replant. He explains how he’s incorporated indigenous trees not just on bare land, but also alongside with coffee and food crops.

The species Daniel has planted include Bikhiri (cordia), Bisola (markamia) aka Nile tulip, Mitoto (ficus), Bihuyu (another type of ficus), Bisabazi (balanite egyptica). His plantings also include several local species like Bisubyu, Sakasi and Nibuchulyu, as well as the the popular Mvule (kimirumba). Daniel states “Trees have helped me a lot. They help provide shade for my coffee. When the sun is out, the coffee doesn’t do so well. The trees shed leaves which decay, so the soil retains its fertility.”

How Your Carbon Offsetting Educates Children in Uganda


Education is a common theme with regards to how farmers utilize Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) through Ecotrust, which has been a COTAP partner since 2011. Daniel is no exception, using some of his earnings to help pay his children’s school fees. Along with his wife, they also assist him with planting the trees and looking after them.

Support Farmers Like Daniel, Wango, and Steven


You can create income for farming families of Ecotrust Uganda’s Trees for Global Benefits project here and learn more about the project at COTAP.org/Uganda.

Meet A Farmer: Dorothy & Vekelani Nthala

October 4th, 2015

Dorothy & Vekelani Nthala

Community: Tchale, Malawi
Year joined: 2008
Number of trees planted: 600 trees in 18×100-meter segments of boundary plantings
Carbon benefit created by Sinoliyamu: 147 tonnes of CO2
Earnings to date: $381
Total expected earnings: $635 (over 10 years, based on successful maintenance of plantings)

Dorothy and Vekelani Nthala wanted to have impact on their own lives as well as their community’s. Planting trees with Trees of Hope Project seemed ideal, as they recognized the ability of trees to improve the soils. As they are subsistence farmers, soil health is integral to the success of their crop yields, and thus an improvement in soil quality related to the planting of trees is critically important to their well-being. The couple joined and started planting their trees in 2008.

They’ve used the revenue from carbon credits they’ve generated to purchase iron corrugated sheets for their house. The iron sheets have saved them from worrying about the rains since their roof no longer leaks, unlike the grass-thatched roof they had previously. The couple says that their trees also provide poles for constructing their tobacco-curing sheds and firewood for cooking. They noted that the soil fertility of their field is improving with the help of the trees they are growing.

Support Farmers Like Dorothy & Vekelani


Create income for farming families of the Clinton Development Initiative’s Trees of Hope project here and learn more about the project at COTAP.org/Malawi.

COTAP’s September 2015 Newsletter

September 22nd, 2015

This issue focuses on updates about COTAP as an organization.

You can view and share the full newsletter here.

In it, you’ll find more information on:

  • COTAP’s presentation at the Oakland NewCo Festival on Oct. 8th.
  • COTAP’s new brochure. 
  • COTAP’s new mobile-friendly website. 
  • A big THANK-YOU to an anonymous donor who helped make the above two items possible!

Meet A Farmer: Musingo Mikhaya

August 14th, 2015

COTAP partner Ecotrust recently launched its Farmer Focus series to highlight the social impacts of its award-winning Trees for Global Benefits (TGB) programme. In this first episode, we meet 70 year old Musingo Mikhaya, a farmer from Bukuso subcounty, in the Manafwa district of Eastern Uganda. Musingo explains how he got started with tree growing and the benefits he has reaped. He shows us around his farm and shares his perspectives on life, culture and family.

Restoring His Local Landscape


Musingo is originally from Bwakoko and moved to the area with his grandfather. Though growing trees has always been a part of his life, he got invovled with TGB after hearing an Ecotrust radio ad about climate change.

The video, which has English subtitles, is in a Bantu language called Lumasaba, which is spoken by tribes on the Mt. Elgon Landscape. Musingo first explains how the area, especially along the roads around Mbale, used to be covered with millions of Mvule trees planted during the rule of Chief Semei Kakungulu in the early part of the 20th century. He notes that most of them have been cut down. He reminisces along with Jonah Butsatsa, the interviewer and Ecotrust’s Communication and Public Relations Officer, about how the many large Mvule trees once covered and shaded the road so that you wouldn’t feel the heat from the sun.

Before TGB came along, Musingo grew eucalyptus, locally known as Kimitoto. Ecotrust sent tree specialists into the district and organized meetings and trainings. He learned how crops don’t coexist well with eucalytpus, and so he started integrating banana and other crop-compatible trees like Kimiruru, Kumikihili (cordia), and Musizi (maesopsis). The trees provide shade which helps prevent heat damage to his coffee crop, and they drop leaves that provide natural fertilizer, saving him money.

How Musingo Uses His TGB Earnings


Musingo has used some of his earnings to pay school fees for the three of his children (of 24 total, from 3 wives) who are currently in school. “It has helped me so much, really. God is Great,” he says. At 70 years old, he also uses his earnings to help cover medical costs, including those from a doctor’s appointment he’s got scheduled right after his interview with Jonah.

Folklore in the Forest


Another intriguing aspect of the interview is Musingo’s deep knowledge of traditional, local beliefs associated with the many different types of trees on his land. For example, if you place the leaf of the Shishangula in the hand of a deceased person, and then lick the leaf, it will undo any curses which have been placed on them. Then there is the Kumurukhuru tree, which is a good remedy for what the English men refer to as mumps… if you gently step on it (presumably on the root, and with a bare foot) and then walk all the way home without looking back.

Musingo’s Gratitude to Ecotrust, and to You


At the 22:15 mark, Musingo expresses his thanks to Ecotrust. It should also be viewed as a thanks to everyone who has offset their carbon emissions via the TGB program:

“We are so grateful. Well first off I would like to thank them. The little we get, has reached us. Let them not get tired… they should keep helping us like this,” he says. “We thank them a lot. Another thing I like so much is that… is when you have someone watching over you, but they also have the courtesy to come and check on you. It gives you strength. I will keep on as long as I am still alive. I will keep on planting these trees. I will not stop.”

Then the video fades out with some sweet Ugandan pop music, replete with autotuned vocals…

Support farmers like Musingo


You can create income for farming families of Ecotrust Uganda’s Trees for Global Benefits project here and learn more about the project at COTAP.org/Uganda.