This week we have heard the very sad news that there have been a number of landslides in the Mbale region of Uganda. Sadly, five people have been confirmed dead and many more have lost their homes and coffee crop, their livelihoods. Our thoughts are with everyone in the region.
Deforestation, soil erosion and changing weather patterns can all contribute to landslides. Mbale is in Eastern Uganda, a large hilly area that is heavily deforested primarily from expansion of agriculture and logging due to weak legal protection. The rains are now irregular, and when they come, the heavy rainfall causes landslides.
Wales has strong links with smallholder coffee farmers that are part of the Mt Elgon Agroforestry Communities Cooperative Enterprise (MEACCE), we have hosted many Fairtrade producers from Mt Elgon across Wales over the past 10 years.
Most recently, the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Fairtrade coffee co-operative, Nimrod Wambette and Jenipher Wettaka, came to Wales in October. They spoke at the International Fair Trade Towns Conference about the impact of climate change in their communities.
It’s important that we highlight problems caused by climate change. These issues are occurring more regularly and hit rural and poor communities hardest. This is not the first landslide to impact MEACCE, and it is unlikely to be the last.
Nimrod Wambette, Chair, says;
‘Smallholder farmers living on the slopes of Mt. Elgon are blessed with rich, fertile soil, and beautiful surroundings. Despite this, a stable livelihood is not straight forward. Climate change is affecting our livelihoods. Rains come less reliably, and torrential downpours have caused fatal landslides affecting our farmers in the last few years.’
Size of Wales and the Welsh government are committed so supporting this region through the Mbale Tree Planting Programme. The programme has recently reached the 10 millionth tree milestone and committed to the ambitious target of planting 25 million trees in the region by 2025.
Some of the ways we suggest you can help