The contour hedgerows that tamed Bududa run-off

Elgon Natural Resources Environmental Networkers in Bududa has constructed 7.5km of contour hedgerows to minimise run-off and soil erosion in Bukigayi sub-county, Bududa. Landslides disasters are frequent in Bududa mostly because the high population density forced people to settle on steep slopes. Deforestation and degradation of the land increased the risk of landslides.

The runoff in Bukigayi was affecting 400 people. It was so powerful that it killed children and animals. After the intervention by this group, the runoff has stopped, the vegetation cover is growing and the soil fertility is improving. The road has grass and vehicles can drive uphill without sliding.

Mr. James Wakhatala, a local farmer, said the runoff would uproot his crops. At harvest he would get only 10kgs of coffee from his plot of land. After he dug hedgerows he now gets 30kgs from the same land. He says he can pick greens and cassava which was not possible with the runoff.

James Wakhatala digging up hedgerows in his banana plantation

James Wakhatala digging up hedgerows in his banana plantation

There was a problem of selecting which sub-county to support. “44% of Bududa has the problem,” said Mr. Michael Musamali, District Natural Resource Officer, Bududa district. He adds, “This was a demonstration. People in Bumakuma Parish have already started digging up hedgerows (on their land) because they now have the skills and can dig effective hedgerows.

Along the edges of the contours, the farmers have planted elephant grass which they feed to the cows.

The hedgerows now benefit about 16,000 people in Bukigayi.