At Tarl Eco Farms, we are committed to shape the landscape of Robusta coffee quality across the entire value chain. Our practices are tested on our nucleus estate and the knowledge transferred across the network of micro farms in Western Uganda. We are building on centuries old coffee tradition of Ankole, Kigezi and Bunyoro to become the king of Robusta Coffee in terms of productivity, quality and passion.
Nyakagyera Nucleus Coffee Estate derives its name from its most prominent ecological feature – the Nyakagyera spring water. In the local dialect of Ankole region, “akagyera” means a small river. Nyakakyera springs and the water that flows from here has for generations been a source of domestic water for more than 300 residents of Nyamirama village. For many years, the Nyakegyera springs also watered hundreds of livestock animals that straddled the pasture lands of the area.
The Nyakagyera spring waters are supported by the Nyakagyera wetland ecosystem – a historically continuous stretch of papyrus swamps and marshlands connecting Nyakagyera waters to Lake Kagera before majestically discharging into Lake Victoria – the world’s second largest fresh water lake. From Lake Victoria, Nyakagyera spring waters joins River Nile – the world’s second longest river – as it elegantly flows through South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt before pouring into the Mediterranean Sea.
Nyakagyera water springs and its supporting wetland ecosystem embodies the history of Nyamirama village and its peoples in many ways. Generations of young men and women came here to water cattle and goats, fetch water for domestic use, collect firewood, pick papyrus stems to process raw materials for making a variety of handcraft items including mats, baskets, and other artifacts. The Nyakagyera wetland ecosystem also acted as a major source of firewood and a place for recreation. The wetland also provided papyrus grass that households used as raw materials to squeeze banana juice from a local banana (matooke) variety called Embire or Embate. The juice was then fermented to produce the local brew called Amarwa or Tonto. As a source of critical raw material in the processing of Empire into Tonto, Nyakegyera wetland became an embedded tradition in the culture of the people of Nyamirama.
Sometime in 1998, as the impacts of climate change began to show at this micro level, most of Western Uganda, Nyamirama Village being no exception, was hit by a severe prolonged drought that exposed the vulnerability of nature-based rural farming systems. Crops failed, livestock run out of pasture and centuries old natural water streams started drying up. The riparian communities of Nyakegyera wetlands ecosystem attacked it with a vengeance. Out of necessity for survival, they opening up land for growing potatoes and subsequently transformed it into permanent grazing lands for livestock.
In a frantic attempt to save the wetland, Godber Tumushabe, now Chairman and CEO of Tarl Eco Farms, prohibited any attempts by his family to follow suit and drain his patch of the wetland. Almost 20 years later, this small patch of the Nyakagyera wetland which he protected has triggered the recovering of a stretch of over 8 acres of this critical micro ecosystem. Today, women are back collecting raw materials for their crafts work. The Nyakagyera water springs have become stronger dispensing hundreds of thousands of litres of water every day. The water system has been developed to protect the water source while at the same time separating the watering points for livestock from access point for water for domestic use.
Hundreds of monkeys migrate through their disrupted transit routes to regularly visit this historical habitat. The serene environment around this wetland ecosystem is punctuated by a growing number of rare beautiful bird species that have made Nyakagyera their home. Tarl Eco Farms Nyakagyera Nucleus Coffee Plantation is a celebration of harmony between people and nature, between economic activity and ecosystem integrity, and a demonstration of resilience in the face of adverse climate trends. The preservation of the Nyakagyera wetland ecosystem now guarantees a reliable supply of water for livestock and domestic use, and irrigation of the coffee estate. The wetland ecosystem provides materials for mulching and is a source of raw materials for the local households’ crafts industry. Our future plan is to retore the recreational culture of Nyakagyera wetland ecosystem and develop it into a unique coffee tourism destination.
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