Adoption of Agroforestry Systems by Farmers in Masaka District of Uganda
Keywords:traditional agroforestry system, modern agroforestry system, Masaka, Uganda.
High population density in Masaka district, Uganda, has led to increased pressure on land. This has resulted in reduced arable land and decreased soil fertility. In view of this, the Vi-Tree NGO Project has initiated a study to investigate the adoption of agroforestry systems by farmers in Masaka district with focus on the types of agroforestry systems practiced, incorporation of multipurpose tree and shrub species, crops grown, farm land size and land ownership, production and marketing problems, and the main items on which families expend money on. Data was collected using open-ended questionnaire interviews administered to 88 farmers randomly selected throughout the 22 subcounties of Masaka district. The results were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The findings showed that the main agroforestry systems practiced are agrosilvopasture, agrosilviculture and silviculture. The study revealed that 81 woody species (75 trees and 6 shrubs) are used. 69% of these are indigenous. The most important families are Fabaceae, Moraceae, Euphorbiaceae, Combretaceae and Myrtaceae. Bananas, cassava, beans, vegetables, maize and coffee are the main crops grown. The majority of farmers hold small farm lands (1- 3 acres). Primary production problems are pests and diseases while marketing problems are many including low prices, long distances from village to farm, lack of buyers and price fluctuations. The main items they spend money on are school fees, medicines, and essential commodities. The adoption of agroforestry systems by farmers is relatively high in Masaka district. This is probably due to high demand for land, soil fertility decline, erosion problems, and demand for woody products (e.g., timber, fuel wood, and fodder, food), contact with the Vi-Tree NGO Agroforestry Project extension agents, and need to increase crop yield. High levels of personal land ownership has probably contributed to the adoption of agroforestry systems to promote long-term production.
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