Taking MTG to the World
Because our Australian Master TreeGrower programs are focused on people – rather than particular tree species or markets - the model has proven to be effective in engaging farmers of all sizes in all types of climates across Australia. This experience gave us the confidence to explore opportunities overseas, particularly in developing countries where growing trees on farms can have a huge impact on the lives and livelihoods of some of the world's poorest people.
We began in Uganda in 2013 with a course run in partnership with an Australian aid group called Beyond Subsistence and have since run a series of MTG courses in Indonesia as part of an Australia involved in a research project. We are now looking at potential partnerships with groups working with farmers in other countries including East Timor.
The Australia Agroforestry Foundation is keen to expand our international Master TreeGrower program and is seeking both partners and sponsors.
Uganda 2016 - Gayaza MTG
3-7 October we will we run the sixth Ugandan Master TreeGrower course in the Wakiso District of central Uganda. The program will provide education and extension support to those wishing to engage farmers and their communties in the establishment and management of multipurpose trees on farms and also landscapes. It will be run in a peri-urban setting to benefit local stakeholders and spread to neighbouring districts.
Zimbabwe 2016 - Gokwe MTG
The 5th MTG Course in Africa was held on 3-8 July, in Zimbabwe under a theme: ‘Nurturing Tree Growing in Southern Africa.’ It was organized in response of a need to address several opportunities at the same glaring gaps towards improving livelihoods among rural communities through enhanced skills in multipurpose tree management on farms and landscapes for better products and wider impact. Key individuals behind coordination, visioning and sponsorship for the MTG in Zimbabwe include Jon Lambert Beyond subsistence AAF's Rowan Reid (founder of MTG); Sally Chademana of Alpha; Trainers from Australia: Peter Ronalds accompanied by his son Josh; Clinton Tepper and Mr. David Curry (AAF); Mr. Lewis Radzire Forest officer in Gokwe working for Government of Zimbabwe Forestry Commission; Cheryl Day of SIM; and Joy Tukahirwa the Eastern and southern Africa Representative, Beyond Subsistence.
Uganda 2014 - Ntungamo MTG
In July we ran the second Ugandan Master TreeGrower course in Ntungamo, Uganda. David Curry (AAF) and Jon Lambert (Beyond Subsistance) joined with local Co-ordinator Joy Tukahirwa to deliver this course. It was positioned to address issues facing farmers in the drylands of Uganda. The Ntungamo District is in Western Uganda and is where the current President, Yoweri Museveni, was born. It is known as the 'cattle corridor' of Uganda. The course explored the opportunities for trees to improve livelihoods and environmental benefits, especially among vulnerable communties.
Jon Lambert and Emma Leslie-Mohr from Australia ran the Nigerien Master TreeGrower course alongside course facilitators fromWorld Renew and Samaritans Purse, both of whom participated in the original training in Australia during 2012. Peter Cunningham from SIMaid Australia contributed with his local research on the use of Acacia seeds for food.
Farmers and aid workers spent a week learning about the use of trees for multi-purpose uses such as shelter for crops, fodder for animals, fruit/seed for their diets, and wood for burning and building. They also discussed the value of trees on farms for biodiversity and erosion control and learnt some basic skills in tree measurement, pruning and farm economics.
The very first Master Tree Grower in West Africa presented real challenges. Interpreters were required to translate between English and the local language Hausa, making the communication of information, at times, slow and interrupted. There was also the need for increased security and caution by foreigners due to instability from rebel and terrorist groups in neighbouring Mali and Nigeria. Nonetheless, taking the Master Tree Grower to Niger was a great opportunity to teach people how to make the most of the environment they are living in.
Uganda 2013 - Kabale MTG
In May 2013 the first International Master TreeGrower course (and first in Africa) was conducted in Kabale, Uganda. More than 30 farmers, ranging from owners of a single-cow to medium sized commercial timber growers, joined researchers, development works and a group of Australian Master TreeGrower (all working as volunteers) for the course. The costs were partly covered by the Australian Crawford Fund and Beyond Subsistence. Most of the Australian team also paid their own travel costs to attend.
The program was an outstanding success with the formation of the Kabale Agroforestry Network and the commitment from a number of local agencies and development projects to support further courses in Uganda.
Check out our first African MTG experience africamtg2013
Gunungkidul : Sumbawa : Pati : Bulukumba : Konawe
As part of a large ACIAR funded program focused on identifying and overcoming constraints to community-based commercial forestry in Indonesia a trial Master TreeGrower course was conducted in Java under the instruction of Rowan Reid. The participants grew Teak on small farms but most lacked knowledge of the markets log specifications, wood prices or silvicultural management options.
As part of the course the participants received a simple pruning gauge and learnt how to use their new diameter tapes. These simple tools can help guide famers in the pruning and thinning of their trees. It is anticipated that more courses will be conducted in Indonesia after the election in April. Each course is run by local researchers with support and guidance from Australia.
With One Seed founder Andrew Mahar has invited AAF to Timor Leste in July to explore implementing MTG courses there. With One Seed helps farmers set up nurseries and plant trees, but they don;t know much about tree management. There is the potential for the MTG program to help them learn about thinning and pruning Mahogany and Teak. There maybe potential for restebalishing sandalwood that used to grow prolifically on the islands.
Here is a link to Andrew's interview on Radio National http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bushtelegraph/timor-trees/5431700