Meet a Farmer: Zinori Bikorwomuhangi

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Our favorite part of Zinori’s interview is at 4:16, when he REALLY lights up listing all the different ways that he’s benefited from getting involved in TGB!

As a boy, Zinori confesses that he used to steal trees from the forest and sell them for timber. In many ways, his story is familiar in that he’s planted and cared for trees and has received carbon payments he’s used for basic needs like school fees.

One interesting difference with Zinori’s story is that he’s Chairman of a community group called Ndangara Nyakiyanja Tutungikye Group or NNTG, which was granted 615 ha of land to restore by the National Forest Authority (NFA). NNTG’s reforestation efforts are restoring and protecting a critical buffer zone on the edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Another unique aspect of Zinori’s TGB story pertains to what’s referred to in the carbon offsets and international development world as Non-Timber Forest Products, or NTFP’s. That’s just a fancy way of using the forest for income… without destroying the forest! In the case of Zinori and NNTG, this means honey harvested from beehives within the forest and sold in local markets. With other participants, it might be something like cash crops grown amongst, or medicinal herbs harvested from, the trees.

Through the example of Zinori and honey, we get a glimpse of NTFP’s and the holistic nature of TGB: the project brings the NFA and communities together. That, together with training and upfront funding for reforestation, paves the way for microenterprises which create alternative, second-order revenue streams which reduce and eliminate economic pressures to cut down trees to sell as timber. 

Second-order income from NTFP’s can be very significant!  In Zinori’s case, it helped him buy a car. Though his carbon offset payments themselves were not enough for Zinori to buy a “big ticket” item like a car, that car would not have been possible without the second-order NTFP income, which in turn was made possible through involvement with TGB.

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