Who is Bwindi Forest Farm?
My name is Trine Didriksen. I’m a biologist from 2008. During my master, I was given the opportunity to work with pest control in connection with National Parks in Uganda, for the organization CARE. The experience from here made me realize that the conflict between animals from the National Parks and local farmers could be remedied by changing the use of land along the parks, from food production to non edible cash crops. Therefore I started a coffee plantation, Bwindi Forest Farm, alongside the Bwindi Forest National Park in Southwest Uganda. The plantation is a demonstration farm for coffee and livestock. The aim with Bwindi Forest Farm is to inspire and assist local farmers with the shift from food production to plantation. Since 2010 Bwindi Forest Farm has been owned in a joint venture between a local Ugandan and the Danish Company “Den Bæredygtige Bønne”
Bwindi Forest Farm also have a campsite and a couple of cabins for tourists. Tourists supply foreign capital, giving birth to restaurants, craftsmen, subcontractors and traditional crafts (especially the elderly are occupied in craft making). Bwindi Forest Farm employs 17 people from surrounding communities, 10 of whom are women.
Bwindi Forest Farm is working towards developing a biodiversity’s gentle cultivation method without compromising crop yield. Bwindi Forest Farm is driven by the use of ecological and permacultural principles. This avoids chemical fertilizers, -pesticides, and -herbicides. The coffee trees are grown in a mixture of local woods that are higher than the coffee trees. It provides a dynamic that mimics the natural forest, the Bwindi Forest National Park, to which we are adjacent, and hopefully an extension, of habitats, into the agricultural country, for the park’s insects, fungi, birds and Furthermore, crop destroying animals, i.e baboons, do not move through the coffee fields, as they then come too far from their safe place, the Park.
In addition to the coffee plantation, I work with a group of coffee farmers. The aim of the project is to help protect Bwindi National Park, as plantations form a buffer zone towards the village and provide villagers with income and resources like fire wood. Forest Farm creates a number of jobs in a rural area where there are not many jobs to be found for the local population.