Over the millennia people in the communities neighboring forest or living in the forests used to depend on those forests for food and income. People in this category are mainly the Bwindi Reformed Poachers and Batwa pygmies who used to stay in the forest as there ancestral home. Other tribes around Bwindi forest would go in searching for resources and go back to their families.
They used to hunt bush meat for food and for selling. They used to harvest other edible gatherings like honey, vegetables, mushrooms, fruits and root tubers. They used to collect water, fire wood and other forest products of importance like, wood, timbers, minerals and medicinal plants.
With government plan to turn the forest into a national park, access to the forest was limited and controlled. The Bwindi Reformed Poachers and Batwa tribe who inhibited the forest as there ancestral home were evicted and displaced. The forest is a habitat for the mountain gorilla and other various species of plants and animals. People who neighbor the forest however illegally go back to the forest to poach bush meat. This puts the endangered animal species like gorillas at risk.
Bwindi Reformed Poachers made a research about why there is poaching besides benefits from tourism and most occurring responses from the homes surveyed was hunger and poverty. Bwindi Reformed Poachers is working with conservation organizations, local communities and other stakeholders to create other alternative projects that can sustainably be source of income and food for reformed poachers.
Bwindi Reformed Poachers have been working with reformed poachers since 2018 and is training and supporting them in beekeeping, vegetable growing, mushroom farming, fish and animal rearing as well as agrotourism. Bwindi Reformed Poachers offers agricultural training, agricultural extension services, building their capacity to produce enough food for home consumption and selling to derive income. The organization offers farmer to farmer extension service and advise and also connects the producers with consumers especially tourism lodges a round Bwindi national park.
Bwindi Reformed Poachers plans to build a community grocery and cooperative union so that poachers can have increased market share, and the cooperative can provide small loans and start up seeds for facilitating there agribusiness. Bwindi Reformed Poachers hopes to use the profit from the restaurant and grocery to finance cooperative loans for the farmers. one of our long time supporters is fundraising money to help our restaurant be self sustaining and produce profits to give as loans. If you may join hands with him to help the cooperative support more farmers kindly follow this link
We developed the Cooperative idea because the farmers need money to invest in there business but the problem is that the current financial institutions can not help them because of the securities (properties), high interest rate, and the mode of payment that does not favor farmers. We plan that our agricultural cooperative farmers start paying back after three month when they start harvesting and the interest rate be as small as 5% and start counting interest after three month when the farmer starts making a profit. The cooperative will also benefit women and Batwa pygmies farmers in particular as Bwindi Reformed Poachers target beneficiaries.