Human Ecology

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 497–514 | Cite as

The Role of Homegardens for Food and Nutrition Security in Uganda

  • Cory William WhitneyEmail author
  • Eike Luedeling
  • Oliver Hensel
  • John R. S. Tabuti
  • Michael Krawinkel
  • Jens Gebauer
  • Katja Kehlenbeck


The contribution of homegardens to the food and nutrition security of rural farmers has rarely been explored empirically. Our study assesses the influence of homegarden agrobiodiversity, production system parameters, and socioeconomic factors on household dietary diversity and anthropometric conditions in southwest Uganda. Plant inventories of 102 homegardens were followed by two 24-h recalls (n = 589) and anthropometric measurements (n = 325) of household members, as well as household food insecurity questionnaires (n = 95). Regression models explained between 16 and 50% of variance in dietary diversity and between 21 and 75% in anthropometric measurements. Results indicate that supporting diverse homegarden systems can in part reduce food insecurity in Uganda. We conclude with recommendations for further strengthening the role of homegardens in improving dietary and anthropometric outcomes.


Food security Dietary diversity Anthropometry HFIAS Plant species diversity Banyankole Bakiga Southwest Uganda 



This study was part of the subproject 4, work package 2 (031A247B) within the collaborative research project “Reduction of Post-Harvest Losses and Value Addition in East African Food Value Chains” (RELOAD) of the initiative “GlobE - Research for the Global Food Supply” of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Dr. Joseph Bahati of Makerere University, Uganda facilitated the support of the Ugandan National Science Foundation (Registration number: A 477), the office of President Museveni and the approval of the local Regional District Coordinators and Chief Administrative Officers of Bushenyi, Rubirizi, and Sheema. Ms. Carolyne Nakaketo of Slow Food Uganda provided field support through interpretation and facilitation of the unique research approach. We are extremely grateful to the chairpersons, other village members, and respondents, who all supported the work, offered food, housing, information, and good company throughout the research. We also acknowledge support from the CGIAR Research Program on ‘Water, Land and Ecosystems.’


Funding was provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Life SciencesRhine-Waal University of Applied SciencesKleveGermany
  2. 2.Center for Development Research (ZEF)University of BonnBonnGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES)University of BonnBonnGermany
  4. 4.Department of Agricultural Engineering, Faculty of Organic Agricultural SciencesUniversity of KasselWitzenhausenGermany
  5. 5.College of Agricultural and Environmental SciencesMakerere UniversityKampalaUganda
  6. 6.Justus Liebig University GiessenGiessenGermany
  7. 7.The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)NairobiKenya

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