Click on a label to read posts from that part of the world.
Sustainble Farming Program in Uganda Offers Hope and Help
Fortunately, the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was established as a national park in 1991, and was initially designed to protect both its treasured gorillas along with its precious and deteriorating forestland, and as of today, the program has been a great success. Yet, while the park itself has benefited from a surge in tourism (thousands of visitors pass through the park every year on pricey gorilla treks), Bwindi locals have not been able to reap much financial benefit from the increased tourism, which in turn, has caused considerable conflict amongst the community.
Much of this socioeconomic dichotomy has been contributed to revenue loss due to the procurement of food products designed for local lodges and restaurants coming from outside the area (as far as a ten hour drive away). Considering the most common livelihood for locals is subsistence farming, and that the area's soil is extremely fertile, developing a farmer's association where locals could gain cash income by supplying fruits, vegetables and other products to a growing tourism industry seemed a natural solution.
Thus, the Bwindi Advanced Market Grower's Association (AMAGARA, which means 'life", in the local language Rukiga) was born, and it has been evolving ever since.
An on-site garden shop sells a wide selection of gifts including packaged honey and tea from Bwindi. Purchases from the garden shop directly support the work of AMAGARA as well as that of the local community.
For traveler's looking for a complete African Mountain Gorilla safari, Volcano Safaris, a company that specializes in great ape ecotourism and who is a well-known leader in its industry, has recently partnered with AMAGARA. As part of their gorilla trekking safari, which already includes tracking in the BINP and lodge accommodations, guests can also tack on a visit to AMAGARA when staying at the Volcanoes Bwindi Eco-Lodge. The lodge, which overlooks the forest, features eight bandas and utilizes only local materials and solar energy. Meals are prepared on-site and highlight produce purchased directly from AMAGARA.