It appears that Mituba trees, as they are known in Luganda, the language of the Baganda, the largest first nation of Uganda; or Ebongut, in Ateso, the language of the Iteso, my people, the fifth largest first nation of Uganda, are still growing in Uganda. Their scientific name is Ficus natalensis (commonly known as Natal fig).

A respondent, for example, confirmed “my dad planted over 1,000 of them”; and another that “they are common in Zombo.” Zombo is in the West Nile Region of Uganda.

Be that as it may, it is also apparent that the growing of Mituba trees is not as widespread as it should be in Uganda and the volumes of trees that are growing are a few.  

A respondents Mituba trees in Sheema District

For example, a respondent originating from Sheema District, in Ankole Region, a geography that is claimed by the Banyankole, the 2nd largest first nation of Uganda, confirmed:

“If you can happen and come in my home village you can be surprised I have big trees of Mituba, about 30; and in the whole of Sheema District am the only person with such big Mituba trees.”

Respondent on Facebook

A possible explanation is “because we no longer have abakomazi (backclothsmiths),” another respondent pointed out. Which begs the question why do we no longer have abakomazi? Food for thought indeed.

Nevertheless, there are indications that there are Ugandans who have come to appreciate the value of growing Mituba trees and are planning to do so. One of them originating from Bunyoro, the geography that is claimed by the Banyoro, another of Uganda’s first nations, shared:

Even during these COVID-19 ‘holidays’, I went bench marking them around my village in Kigumba in Kiryandongo district. Soon am going to embark on planting them.”

Respondent on Facebook

While another shared:

“I am trying to have them around the farm, am sure they will all be big trees in the next ten years.”

Respondent on Facebook

We, CPAR Uganda, are considering popularization of growing of Mituba trees at our centres in Lango and Acholi; and among the communities in the districts in which our centres are located.

By Norah Owaraga

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This post is based on learning from reactions on Facebook to the blog post: “Why aren’t Mutuba trees growing all over Uganda.”  A post that was well received on Facebook. It had a reach of 20.6k, of whom 598 clicked on the link and presumably read the full post. The post’s audience on Facebook was mostly (76.7 percent) men; and only 23.3 percent women. Among the audience, persons aged 35-44 years took up 35 percent; followed by those aged 25-34 years who took up 27 percent; followed by those aged 45-54 years and those aged 65 years and older, each taking up 15 percent; and lastly, those aged 55-64 years who took up only eight percent. These findings do present significant food for thought as we innovate to popularize Mutuba tree growing in Uganda.

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