Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) in Uganda is globally famous as home to half of the world population of critically endangered mountain gorillas, which attract thousands of visitors to the forest every year. In theory, this tourism should bring benefits for both conservation and local communities, helping to resolve conflict between people and the park. However, in the past the majority of revenue used to ‘leak’ out of the area, leaving local people with little to show for the tourism that was taking place in their midst.
In 2006 Bwindi Advanced Market Gardeners’ Association was established (AMAGARA meaning ‘life’ in the local language Rukiga). AMAGARA aims to help local farmers to produce and market foods for the tourism industry while training them in farming techniques that minimise damage to the environment and forest and maximise the nutritional value of meals they provide for their families.
This link between increased household income and tourism has given the farmers a powerful incentive to conserve forest resources