Crop diversity in homegardens of southwest Uganda and its importance for rural livelihoods
- 532 Downloads
Homegardens are traditional food systems that have been adapted over generations to fit local cultural and ecological conditions. They provide a year-round diversity of nutritious foods for smallholder farming communities in many regions of the tropics and subtropics. In southwestern Uganda, homegardens are the primary source of food, providing a diverse diet for rural marginalized poor. However, national agricultural development plans as well as economic and social pressures threaten the functioning of these homegardens. The implications of these threats are difficult to evaluate, because the structure and functions of the homegardens are not well understood. The aim of the study was to identify patterns and influencing factors in the diversity of homegardens by documenting the floristic diversity and its interactions with spatial, environmental and socio-economic factors. A geographically and socially focused assessment of floristic diversity in 102 randomly selected homegardens in three districts of southwest Uganda was conducted along a deforestation gradient following a human ecology conceptual framework and testing multiple quantitative hypotheses regarding the above mentioned factors. A merged mixed-method approach was followed to provide context and feedback regarding quantitative findings. Results show a high total richness of 209 (mean 26.8 per homegarden) crop species (excluding weeds and ornamentals) dominated by food species, which constituted 96 percent of individuals and 44 percent of all species. Forest-edge homegardens maintained higher plant diversity compared to homegardens in deforested areas and near degraded wetlands. Multiple linear regression models indicated elevation, location, homegarden size, distance to market, additional land ownership (outside the homegarden) and livestock ownership as significant predictors of crop diversity. Cluster analysis of species densities revealed four garden types: ‘diverse tree gardens’, ‘small forest-edge gardens’, ‘large, old, species-rich gardens’, and ‘large, annual-dominated herb gardens’, with 98% correct classification. Location, elevation, and garden size were also important determinants in the cluster assignment. We conclude that the diversity of the studied homegardens may be changing as part of adaptive traditional practices and in response to external drivers. The identified patterns illustrate the importance of homegardens for rural livelihoods and may offer some ways to support farmers to maintain these systems as relevant mechanisms for development in Uganda.
KeywordsAgrobiodiversity Human ecology Smallholder farmers Traditional farming
House Quality Index
Linear discriminant analysis
Pielou’s measure of species evenness
Shannon Diversity index
Summed dominance ratio
Tropical Livestock Units
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). Ethical and legal permission for the work was granted by the Ugandan National Council for Science and Technology (registration number: A 477), the President’s Office and the local Regional District Coordinators and Chief Administrative Officers of Bushenyi, Rubirizi and Sheema, and facilitated by Dr. Joseph Bahati of Makerere University. We are particularly grateful to the many farmers, village chairpersons and community members who participated as respondents and supported the work, as well as offering food, housing, information and good company throughout the research. Mr. Daniel Mulindwa helped with specimen collection. Dr. Mary Namaganda and Ms. Olivia Wanyana Maganyi of the Makerere University Department of Botany helped facilitate plant identification. Ms. Carolyne Nakaketo provided field support and artistic impressions of the work (cf. Fig. 5).
- Buyinza, M. 2009. Land-use intensity in the tree cropping homesteads in Kamuli, Eastern Uganda. Agricultural Journal 4 (2): 46–51.Google Scholar
- Claus, W., U. Ligges, K. Luebke, and N. Raabe. 2005. klaR analyzing German business cycles. In Data analysis and decision support, eds. D. Baier, R. Decker, and L. Schmidt-Thieme, 335–343. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
- Creswell, J. W., and V. L. P. Clark. 2011. Designing and conducting mixed methods research. London: Sage Publishing.Google Scholar
- FAO. 2014. FAO GEOnetwork [vector data set]. http://www.fao.org/geonetwork. Accessed 27 June 2015.
- Gessler, M., and U. Hodel. 2010. A case study of key species in Southern Vietnam; Farmer classification and management of agrobiodiversity in home gardens. In Home gardens and agrobiodiversity, eds. P. B. Eyzaguirre, and O. F. Linares, 215–233. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar
- Goode, P. M. 1989. Edible plants of Uganda: The value of wild and cultivated plants as food. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).Google Scholar
- Hlavac, M. 2015. Stargazer: Well-formatted regression and summary statistics tables [R package version 5.2.]. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=stargazer. Accessed 13 Feb 2016.
- Howard, P. 2003. The major importance of ‘minor’ resources: Women and plant biodiversity. London: International Institute for Environment and Development.Google Scholar
- IFPRI. 2016. Food security portal. http://www.foodsecurityportal.org/uganda. Accessed 3 Mar 2016.
- Jacobi, J., S. L. Mathez-Stiefel, H. Gambon, S. Rist, and M. Altieri. 2017. Whose knowledge, whose development? Use and role of local and external knowledge in agroforestry projects in Bolivia. Journal of Environmental Management 59 (3): 464–476.Google Scholar
- Jahnke, H. E., G. Tacher, P. Kiel, and D. Rojat. 1988. Livestock production in tropical Africa, with special reference to the tsetse-affected zone. Nairobi: International Livestock Research Institute.Google Scholar
- Kehlenbeck, K., H. S. Arifin, and B. Maass. 2007. Plant diversity in homegardens in a socio-economic and agro-ecological context. In Stability of tropical rainforest margins, eds. T. Tscharntke, C. Leuschner, M. Zeller, E. Guhardja, and A. Bidin, 297–319. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
- Kindt, R., and R. Coe. 2005. Tree diversity analysis. Nairobi: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).Google Scholar
- Konczacki, J. M., and Z. Konczacki. 1977. An economic history of tropical Africa: Volume one: The pre-colonial period. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Kumar, B. M., and P. K. R. Nair. 2004. The enigma of tropical homegardens. Agroforestry Systems 61 (1): 135–152.Google Scholar
- NPA. 2007. Uganda Vision 2040. Kampala: Ugandan National Planning Authority (NPA).Google Scholar
- Oksanen, J., F. G. Blanchet, R. Kindt, P. Legendre, P. R. Minchin, R. B. O’Hara, G. L. Simpson, P. Solymos, M. H. H. Stevens, and H. Wagner. 2016. Vegan: Community ecology package [R package version 2.3-3]. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=vegan. Accessed 13 Feb 2016.
- Pohlert, T. 2014. The pairwise multiple comparison of mean ranks package (PMCMR) [R package version 4.1]. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=PMCMR. Accessed 13 Feb 2016.
- R Core Team. 2015. R: A language and environment for statistical computing [R version 3.2.3 “Wooden Christmas Tree”]. https://www.R-project.org/. Accessed 13 Feb 2016.
- Rambo, A. T. 1983. Conceptual approaches to human ecology. Hawaii: East-West Environment and Policy Institute, Honolulu.Google Scholar
- Ryota, S., and S. Hidetoshi. 2015. pvclust: Hierarchical clustering with P-values via multiscale bootstrap resampling [R package version 2.0-0]. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=pvclust. Accessed 13 Feb 2016.
- Schneider, J. 2010. Toward an analysis of home garden cultures. On the use of sociocultural variables in home garden studies. In Home gardens and agrobiodiversity, eds. P. B. Eyzaguirre, and O. F. Linares, 41–55.Google Scholar
- Tabuti, J. R. S. 2012. Important woody plant species, their management and conservation status in Balawoli Sub-county, Uganda. Ethnobotany Research and Applications 10: 269–286.Google Scholar
- Turner, A. G. 2003. Sampling strategies: Handbook on designing of household sample surveys, 44. Geneva: United Nations Statistics Division.Google Scholar
- UBOS. 2014. National population and housing census 2014. Kampala: Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS).Google Scholar
- UBOS and ICF. 2012. Uganda demographic and health survey 2011. Calverton: Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), MEASURE DHS, ICF International Inc.Google Scholar
- UNMA. 2016. Uganda national meteorological authority. https://www.unma.go.ug/. Accessed 13 Oct 2016.
- van Breugel, P., R. Kindt, J. P. B. Lillesø, M. Bingham, S. Demissew, C. Dudley, I. Friis, F. Gachathi, J. Kalema, F. Mbago, H. N. Moshi, J. Mulumba, M. Namaganda, H. J. Ndangalasi, C. K. Ruffo, M. Védaste, R. Jamnadass, and L. Graudal. 2015. Potential natural vegetation map of Eastern Africa (Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia). Version 2.0. http://vegetationmap4africa.org. Accessed 09 Mar 2016.
- WFP. 2006. Comprehensive food security and vulnerability analyses (CFSVA) Uganda. Rome: World Food Programme (WFP), Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping Branch.Google Scholar
- Wilkinson, L. 2011. Venneuler: Venn and Euler diagrams [R package version 1.1-1]. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=venneuler. Accessed 13 Feb 2016.