We recognized the farming practice of the communities around Keyo hills in Kilak, which is a complex and fragile ecosystem, as being purely dependent on annual food and cash crops production system and rain fed agriculture in nature. There are noticeable decline in food and cash crops production in the area. There are regular reported cases of mild to severe famine in the northern and eastern parts of Uganda. The community has resorted to overexploitation of natural resources such as charcoal burning and stone quarrying for daily subsistence. This practice is not sustainable and is environmentally destructive yet this hill is the main watershed that feeds rainwater to River Nile. Over the years, the rainfall pattern in the area has become unreliable due to environmental destruction. We designed a project that aimed at introducing perennial food and cash crops and improved livestock with high milk production to reduce poverty and ensure availability of food throughout the year. Another component of the project was to introduce the use of wood saving stoves or cooking places to reduce wastage of firewood and conserve trees. We supplied improved banana suckers to the communities to provide food security and income and with the help of Send a Cow; we received 57 in-calf heifers and 264 goats. They were distributed to individual households and beneficiaries. It is too early to quantify the economic and environmental benefits of the project to the community. But some of the beneficiaries are already eating and selling bananas and those with cows are drinking and selling milk and many more are using wood saving methods for cooking. Having given alternative sustainable means of generating income and food security, we later embarked on the sensitization of the communities against setting bush fires, indiscriminate feeling of trees, farming in wetlands and stone quarrying with a few to reduce dependence on the environment capital and allow natural regeneration.
Key words: Environment, mitigation, regeneration, perennial, food security and sustainable development.
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