Online Bird Friendly Certification Forum

Please Join us on 25th February, 15:00-18:00 GMT, for our free, online bird friendly certificate initiative forum

The Bird Friendly Certification Initiative, E.Africa is aiming for outreach, sharing findings, creating and applying a durable framework for promotion of Bird Friendly Certification in East Africa

To sign-up: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/online-bird-friendly-certification-forum-thurs-25th-feb-1500-1800gmt-tickets-121857931353

About This Event 

The goal of this event is to bring together parties interested in defining a framework for the introduction of Bird Friendly coffee and cocoa certification in East Africa, and supporting cooperatives in the region to access this.

The Rwenzori Sustainable Trade Centre secured funding, in 2018, to undertake a feasibility study into defining and securing bird-friendly certification for two cooperatives, one active in cocoa and the other in coffee, in Bundibugyo district Rwenzori Mountains Western Uganda. The feasibility study was a precursor to a work with cooperatives of small-scale farmers in Bundibugyo to obtain Fairtrade, organic certifications both of which have now been achieved. The RSTC is now reaching out and seeking like-minded and expert academics, conservationists and business partners to plan and create a durable framework for managing and enhancing bird-friendly production, in collaboration with academic and commercial partners.

Our assumption is that credible Bird-Friendly (BF) practices and certification means the cooperatives can connect with birders/bird watchers in the USA, Japan and the UK and increase small-holder family incomes and protect the environment and the natural habit of wildlife. Birders number 46m people in the USA and half the population drinks coffee. There is also growing demand in Japan and in the UK where there are roasters offering Bird-Friendly coffee certified by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, (RSPB) and others.

Bundibugyo in Western Uganda is home to the Semuliki National Park, one of the best birding destinations in Uganda. The park is set at the base of the majestic Rwenzori Mountains, producing some of the finest coffee in the world on the mountain slopes. Bird-Friendly certification for coffee (and eventually other crops) is a concept that was developed by the Smithsonian Institution’s Migratory Bird Center in the USA in 1996 and organic certification agencies use its science-based criteria to certify shade coffee that provides quality habitat for birds.

Across the East Africa region, there are many areas of outstanding natural beauty, conservation and wild-life parks and mixed zones where small-scale agriculture can play a vital role in supporting and enhancing eco-systems.

Eco-Tourism has a vital role to play also and is well developed regionally. To diversify incomes the RSTC and partner cooperatives across the Rwenzoris are developing, step by step, an eco-tourism proposition, including eco-lodges, and an immersive experience to birders, who, as well as enjoying the spectacular beauty of the Rwenzori mountains and its over 400 species of birds, will also have the opportunity to see how Bird-Friendly coffee is grown, walk and climb the peaks, and even join in the coffee harvesting and learn how to process fine Arabica coffees if they so wish. The Eco-Tourism business will be run by young people from these communities who will be trained as eco-tourism guides in and around the national parks.

We hope to find a coalition to map these spaces and partners out, to advocate for a systematic effort and the formation of credible support and certification structure to see this become an important initiative for sustainable landscapes in the region offering: livelihoods, environmental protection and international cooperation.

Please join us and sign up for this important event.For more information and ideas for the agenda please contact: s.ellie@rwenzorisustainable.org