Smallholders’ modification of agroforestry technologies for increased food and income in Uganda’s mt. Elgon region
Fred Kalanzi1, Prossy Isubikalu2, Florence Kyazze3
1National Forestry Resources Research Institute, Uganda
Agroforestry combines complementary tree species into cropping systems to increase spatial diversity. Because it combines trees and farming, agroforestry is a strong pillar of agroecology which demonstrates how food production and nature can co-exist. This study explores smallholder farmers' modifications of agroforestry technologies and comments on their implications for food security. Qualitative data are reported from a case study of 12 smallholder farmers who participated in on-farm trials and demonstration of agroforestry technologies under the ACIAR funded Trees for Food Security project. These data were used to explore how a range of contextual factors, including socio-economic and biophysical, shaped smallholder farmers' modifications. Data were collected over four months of frequent and regular interaction with the cases using formal and informal methods that included in-depth interviews, conversations, discussions, and direct observations. Emerging themes and patterns were identified from the comprehensively reduced data. In addition, respondents' direct quotes emphasised the reasons for the modifications. The findings showed that smallholder farmers modified the recommended technologies to suit their biophysical and socio-economic realities. Differences and similarities in modifications existed among cases across the agroforestry technologies. The modifications were mainly done to diversify tree uses, optimise space utilisation, and minimise production costs for farming households. The findings highlight the need to critically examine the smallholders' modifications as a basis for generating agroforestry technologies that will quickly diffuse into the community for broader impact. Findings also emphasise the need to rethink the linear model of technology transfer mainly applied in agroforestry technology development and dissemination because it offers limited space for the much-needed feedback from smallholder farmers.
Keywords: Agro-ecology, agroforestry technology, case study, farm productivity, modifications, smallholder farmer, usability
Contact Address: Fred Kalanzi, National Forestry Resources Research Institute, +256 Kampala, Uganda, e-mail: kalfremgmail.com