Session2: Diversity and Plant Utilization in African Homegardens
Plant Species and Use Diversity of Enset-based Agroforestry Homegardens in Southern Ethiopia
Hawassa University, Department of Plant Sciences, Hawassa, Ethiopia
Enset-based agroforestry homegardens are common agricultural systems in Southern Ethiopia. These systems are characterized by a unique combination and dominance of two native perennial crops, enset and coffee. Enset (Enset ventricosum Welw. Cheesman) is a multipurpose crop and staple food in the region and it shares about 26% of the farm areas. Coffee (Coffee arabica L.) is the main cash crop with an area share of about 33%. The combination of the two ecologically compatible perennial crops used as staple and cash crop, respectively and their integration with a multitude of other crops, trees and livestock, is beneficial from an ecological and socio-economic point of view. This explains why these homegardens support a very dense population of about 500 persons per square kilometre. Unlike most homegardens in the tropics that are known to be supplementary food production systems, the enset-coffee homegardens are ‘integral’ or complete farm systems from where farmers derive almost all their subsistence and cash needs. A study was conducted on 144 homegardens in Sidama administrative zone of Southern Ethiopia to characterize diversity and composition of species.
Three main components of agricultural biodiversity can be distinguished in these homegardens; crops, trees and livestock. A total of 198 species of cultivated crops (78) and trees (120) have been recorded from the homegardens. The mean number of cultivated plant species per homegarden was 37, with values ranging from 15 to 78. In addition to species diversity, a high level of genetic diversity was found with respect to the two major crops, enset and coffee. The homegardens also included seven livestock species.
The number of crop species grown in a farm is an important indicator of diversity. However, from the utility point of view, it is not only the number that matters, but also the heterogeneity in functions of the crops. In order to fulfil the dietary and cash requirements of the households, food crops composed of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, as well as cash crops should be fairly represented in the systems. In this respect too, the homegardens are characterized by diversity of functional crop types; In addition to tree species, 10 functional groups of crops were recognised out of which an average of 8.1 groups were occurring in each homegarden.
The high diversity of species which combines crops, trees and animals having different uses and production cycles, and the perennial nature of major components of the enset-based homegardens, is considered as an essential component of sustainable agriculture. However, the system is being affected by decreasing farm size and increased commercialisation, leading towards expansion of annual food and cash crops. The shift has diversified the diet and increased household income, but the expansion of open-field food crops, such as maize and sweet potato, and of monocultural cash crops, such as chat and pineapple, are not only causing a gradual loss of species diversity and tree biomass, but also a decrease in the dominance of the two key species enset and coffee. This results in a gradual reduction of the ecological benefits derived from these integrated and complex systems threatening their long term sustainability. Thus, attempts should be made to integrate new crops into the existing multi-storey system without affecting its biodiverse nature and without loosing the essential keystone species.
Key Words: Agroforestry, homegarden, Enset, species diversity, species composition, southern Ethiopia
A Farmers’ Perspective Towards Maintaining Diversity on Farm in Uganda
Karamura, D., Karamura, E.1, Mulumba Wasswa, J.2, Markham R.3, Nkwiine C.4, Male-Kayiwa Beatrice2, Kalanzi Ann5
1. Bioversity International, Regional Office for East and Southern Africa, P.O. Box 24384, Kampala, Uganda
2. National Agricultural Research Organization, Kawanda Research Station, Uganda.
3. Bioversity International, Parc Scientifique Agropolis II, 34397, 5 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
4. Makerere University, Department of Soil Science, Box 7062, Kampala
5. Uganda Bioversity Network, Box 2021, Kampala
Banana home gardens are dynamic ecological units which constitute a major part of the homestead in the banana based systems of Uganda. Farmers particularly women do maintain them to derive their livelihood, as well as a basis for social cultural and economic transformation. In the process women have improved home gardens through a set of traditional management practices for the conservation of the system. In this system a given level of banana diversity is maintained with a certain composition of genotypes depending on farmers’ needs and resources. Diversity levels however, keep changing due to biotic pressures, although socio-economic and cultural transformations may also cause negative impacts to the system causing irreversible effects on the genetic diversity. Farmers have always been overwhelmed by these impacts although they keep evolving new strategies to maintain Musa diversity in their gardens. There is a need to understand the management strategies being implemented by farmers to keep securing their diversity. The purpose of this study was to determine the amount and source of Musa diversity in these gardens; identify the traditional banana management practices, their value in the conservation of Musa genetic resources; and understand the best practices for conserving rare banana landraces with an ultimate objective of promoting and supporting the practices through relevant policy channels. Using the Four Square Analysis methodology a total of 68 cultivars of bananas were recorded in the study site. Out of these 19 cultivars were considered by the farmers to be rare or under threat. A total of 25 management practices were identified, 4 of which were considered useful for any banana home garden while 21 were targeting individual cultivars. The Principal Component Analysis (PCA) showed that out of the 21 practices 9 were very critical for the survival of rare landraces. The correlations indicated that only 8 of the 19 rare cultivars seemed to have a direct relationship with the 9 practices, an indication that the 8 rare cultivars rely mainly on 9 practices for their survival and continued existence.
Key Words: Home-gardens, diversity, practices, analysis, conservation
Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies (ASAFAS), Kyoto University, Japan
The Baganda in Central Uganda are well known as people who have maintained their identity as banana farmers. They have developed a livelihood system that is based on banana cultivation, wherein each dwelling is surrounded by a garden which is centered on banana, the primary staple food crop. Interdependence between people’s life and bananas has created a unique landscape resembling a "forest of bananas" in which scattered houses are embedded.
The banana-based homegarden is a vital living place of household as well as an agricultural land with various trees and herbs. This paper focuses on the former attribute, arguing that the nature of dedication to the homegarden is reflective of the Baganda’s sense of value for this indigenous place.
The garden is an area of household clearly differentiated from outside. They call a banana garden lusuku (pl. ensuku), differing from enimiro (pl. enimiro), the general term for a field of crops. Some also make fences at the boundaries, physically separating the area. The garden contains spaces for home activities such as bathing, washing clothes, making barkcloths, having a rest, etc. Women tend to spend a longer time in the garden than men and they frequently go back and forth between the dwelling, the kitchen, the yard and the garden.
Both women and men play important roles in their agricultural practices and there are gender specific divisions of labor and profit which correspond to each crop and domestic animal. For example, a folk dichotomy of "female" bananas for staple food and "male" bananas for beer is likewise applied to the division of the responsibility in the garden. In practice, however, women and men have often helped each other and in recent years men have intensified their commitment to female domain.
Plants are distinguished by units (individual, landrace and species), although some aspects of recognition in the garden are shared only by members of within individual households. For example, the landrace name and spatial position of a banana plant are recognized with a complex of household members’ memories of soil condition, the appearances and genealogy of the plant. People also associate a specific plant or position in the garden with their experiences.
A lively homegarden is seen as an instrument of a sustainable food supply and an image of affluent life, where they seek avoidance of curses, and supplicate for a good harvest. It is also a symbol of their ancestry where rituals occur to mark the death and of a head of a household. A banana-based homegarden in Baganda may therefore be considered as a multi-valued space which affords both domestic life and cultural signification.
Key Words: Banana, homegarden, Baganda, sense of place
A Case Study of the Haya, Northwestern Tanzania
Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies (ASAFAS), Kyoto University, Japan
Homegarden is a multi-purpose space used for residence, farmland, and resource of plants and animals. Many case studies in (sub-)tropics have revealed its common features as multi-layered structure, rich in biodiversity, agroforestry system with multi-use potential. From the ecological or economic point of view homegarden is often referred as sound and stable land use system. Banana and enset as staple crops have been essential parts of east African highlands homegarden farming for many generations. One of the characteristics that defines banana-/enset-based homegarden can be attributed to high intra-species diversity rather than biodiversity. This presentation will examine two points: (1) to identify several factors on land use and agricultural system in the Haya of northwesetern Tanzania, and (2) to analyze the process of development and management of banana-based homegarden, and consider the meaning of homegarden in the socio-cultural context.
The Haya is one of major ethnic groups in Tanzania, most of who densely settle in the Lake Victoria basin. The Haya homegarden 'kibanja' is a permanent mix-cropped farm based on banana and coffee stands. Through a village survey 72 of local banana landraces were observed, out of which 57 were occupied by East African Highland bananas. Management of the permanent crops as banana and coffee is principally on men’s domain while annual crops like common bean or maize on women’s. The rich diversity was also observed in common bean (21 landraces observed among 16 households).
In the Haya custom a portion of one’s homegarden is inherited patrilineally to his sons. The land is generally in the undesirable condition to grow crops at the time of inheritance, so that the Haya man struggles first to pull out unnecessary trees and weeds to improve establish his own homegarden. What a man becomes fully independent in the Haya sense is involved with vigorousness of his homegarden. The largest banana plant in his homegarden is called as ‘a banana plant of the household head’ and grown closest to homestead, which can be interpreted in the context of their social relationship. The process of homegarden development is establishment of their living world to tie themselves with outside, as well as the stages for acquiring a vital borrowing from their ancestors.
Key Words: Banana, Tanzania, land use, intra-species diversity, homegarden development