Saving Mt. Elgon's Soils – How Relevant Is Farmers' Knowledge in a Rapidly Changing Environment?
Sahrah Fischer1, Thomas Hilger1, Sebastian Pochert1, Julius Twinamasiko2, Jan Welsch3, Catherine Meyer1, Ann-Kathrin Hehl1, Kathinka Lang1, Jakob Heni1, Georg Cadisch1
1University of Hohenheim, Inst. of Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics (Hans-Ruthenberg-Institute), Germany
Uganda's Kapchorwa district is reportedly one of the most productive areas in the country. However, the area is heavily characterised by population pressure, strong soil nutrient depletion, erosion, and poor yields. Soil maps or recent information regarding soil degradation are not available. Local soil knowledge combined with scientific analysis may be a valuable tool for the localisation of problem areas in this region and development of mitigation strategies. Combining local soil knowledge with scientific methods increases relevance and accuracy of results as well as acceptance in local communities. Additionally, a comparison between scientific methods and local knowledge can uncover best crop management scenarios and knowledge gaps. To identify the validity of local soil knowledge for evaluating soil degradation, the following questions are examined: (i) what soil properties do local farmers use to identify soil types; (ii) how adequate are the soil properties to describe soil fertility; (iii) how adaptable are the soil properties to a rapidly changing environment.
Keywords: Degradation, local knowledge, soil colour, soil fertility, soil nutrients, texture, Uganda
Contact Address: Sahrah Fischer, University of Hohenheim, Inst. of Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics (Hans-Ruthenberg-Institute), Garbenstr. 13, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany, e-mail: sahrah.fischeruni-hohenheim.de