Title: Feasibility of land restoration using fodder trees and shrubs in smallholder farming systems in Sembabule District of Uganda

Type:
Final project
Year of publication:
2019
Supervisors: Jónína Sigríður Þorláksdóttir
Keywords:
land restoration, fodder trees, fodder shrubs, smallholder farming systems

Abstract

Fodder trees and shrubs play a vital role in the diet of browsers. Once integrated in agropastoral land use systems, they can improve the soil, vegetation, environment, and livestock production as well as peoples’ livelihoods. For this reason, they have been advocated for by many extension workers and are considered an important area of research. This study, carried out in the Sembabule District of Uganda aimed to assess the feasibility of land restoration using fodder trees and shrubs. Data was collected through focus group discussions with farmers and semi-structured interviews with a technical staff member and a local leader. Results indicated that subsistence livestock rearing, and crop growing are major livelihood activities in the area in addition to charcoal production and trade in agricultural products. Land degradation, drought, overgrazing, termite infestation, emergence of plant species unpalatable to livestock, and reduced area available for grazing are the main challenges facing farmers in the area. The most common fodder tree species used by farmers was Calliandra calothyrsus, which can encourage the establishment of many other plant species, remains green all year round, increases milk production and income, and improves livelihoods. Women seemed to be more active in fodder tree establishment compared to their male counterparts. Their participation was constrained, however, by land ownership as all male respondents owned land compared to only one of all the women participants. Other constraints to adoption of fodder trees and shrubs were lack of access to planting materials and skills in raising seedlings in nursery beds, drought, not enough awareness of the availability of different fodder tree and shrub species, lack of sensitisation on land rights, and termite infestation. Creating awareness of appropriate fodder tree and shrub species adaptable to the climate in the area, raising their seedlings, and sensitising both genders on land rights and the environment could enhance adoption of fodder trees and shrubs in smallholder farming systems.

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