shea trees Ngetta ZARDI

Touring shea cooperatives

This week we are touring shea cooperatives supported by GIZ in northern Uganda and other partners. We started our tour with a visit to Ngetta ZARDI under NARO (us Ugandans love our acronyms). NARO is one of my favourite government institutions to visit! So much work is being done by our (look at me, well I pay my taxes 😅😅😅) scientists at the different NARO institutions around the country. Henewe, we went to visit shea nut tree nursery and the shea agroforestry farming model garden. These shea seedlings in the pots made me very happy. The scientist in charge was a passionate lady who proudly showed off her children (trees) she has been planting during her work at NARO. She shared her tree planting philosophy that was passed on to her by her father: Every time she has a child, she plants at least three acres of trees in honour of that child. Her father had nine children and he planted many trees over the years which have now become his source of income in retirement.
For any reason plant trees. And for quality planting materials, contact a NARO institute near you! I bought some clonal eucalyptus seedlings which we delivered to our Factory in Otuke. We learnt that clonal eucalyptus is fast growing and makes excellent charcoal, much better than shea wood and it's a fast growing tree.
As part of conservation efforts and education for the shea tree, we need to provide viable alternatives to farmers and the country for livelihood and energy requirements. 90% of Uganda uses charcoal and firewood to cook. We strongly believe that we can make charcoal farming a real business and take the pressure off the shea trees and the natural forests. We are going to pilot this on site in Otuke, and start to partner with our shea collector communities to scale this up.
We have identified a number of fast growing trees that make excellent charcoal and firewood. We shall be establishing nurseries in the communities to ease distribution of seedlings.

The Otuke Junior Football Team

When soccer lovers meet! Please meet our girls and junior boys football teams from Otuke. We believe in community led impact and are proud to be a part of these youngsters' journey. Fun fact, our head coach is an agriculture teacher at a school for the deaf in Lira town. And he owns a nursery school in Okwang trading centre. He used lockdown to engage the young people and a football club was born. The senior men's team planted our sunflower garden this year and it came along so beautifully. With the help of friends in Germany, we got a set of uniforms. Please do reach out with football gear, etc.

Shea Harvest 2021

The shea trees in Otuke are presently in full bloom and we are approaching the new period of collecting the nuts when they have dropped to the ground after the ripening process has finished. The nuts will then transfererred to our drying-facilities where they will undergo a moisture-monitored drying process before our 2021 shea butter batch will be extracted from them.

Podcast Design Hustle

In this podcast episode of the Design Hustle, we get to hear from Lydia Nakayenze Schubert, founder of OncaPlanta, an agro-entrepreneur. She gives us insights on her journey of building her company, OncaPlanta and where she sees herself in 5 years’ time.

After living and working in Germany, Lydia’s desire to build an international brand that had social development at its core were realised when she and her family decided to invest in the Nilotica Shea Belt in Northern Uganda. This has led to a factory in Otuke that supplies quality sheabutter as well as a Moringa Tree farm in Pakwach where she has now expanded to Moringa Oil. All this is under the brand name, Moo Me Gen which means ‘oils of hope’. She will be expanding her products to include marula and mango butter.

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