Chimpanzee Trust creating profitable ventures for communities to save forests

Chimpanzee Trust has introduced women groups in the Bunyoro area to several money making ventures in a bid to reduce the population pressure on the forests in this area.

While speaking to media, Lilly Ajarova, Executive Director of Chimpanzee Trust says that the rate of deforestation has worryingly increased which has forced Chimpanzees out forests. Arajova says many immigrants in this region are introducing Bunyoro natives to new economic activities that are causing them to cut down forests. Many people in the region have now resorted to charcoal burning, commercial farming and lumbering as a source of income.

This has immensely reduced the forest cover in this area hence making survival for the chimpanzees in this area difficult. “The forests are not enough for the chimpanzees anymore that is why they now go to people’s farms,” said Ajarova.

She said that as Chimpanzee Trust they have now devised better ways to ensure that people’s survival in this area doesn’t entirely depend on forests. “We have interested women groups in piggery, mushroom growing, crafts making and tree seedlings sale,” She adds. She explained that some of the activities they introduced like poultry did not yield any positive results and therefore was eliminated.

These activities are all money making ventures that will serve commercial needs for the communities who are commercially depending on the forests.

Ajarova also mentioned that in their quest for solutions for the escalating deforestation, a pilot project was introduced in 2014 known as payment for ecosystem. This four year project saw 340 families benefit from direct cash payments that were made to private land owners who had chosen to preserve their forests. This project was successful as it caused several policy reviews while it also interested locals in wildlife sustainability.  The challenge however is this project was only four years, the payments were stopped and the locals have slipped back to their old ways.