Assessment of change in smallholder farmers’ livelihoods due to land degradation in Ludewa district, Tanzania

Haule, Cosmas (2009) Assessment of change in smallholder farmers’ livelihoods due to land degradation in Ludewa district, Tanzania. ["eprint_fieldopt_thesis_type_phd" not defined] thesis, Sokoine University of Agriculture.

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Cross sectional survey was conducted to investigate change in smallholder farmers’ livelihoods as a result of land degradation from stratified sample of 240 households in four villages in Ludewa District, Tanzania. Survey was complemented by remote sensing, documentations, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), transect walks, and in-depth interview with key informants. Data were analyzed by Geographical Information System (GIS), chi-square and logistic regression and qualitatively by content analysis. The results showed that between 1979 and 2002, area covered by open woodland dropped from 30 percent to five percent. In contrast, settlement with mixed cropping increased from 15 percent to 22 percent, bushland with scattered cropping from four percent to 16 percent, and woodland with scattered cropping increased from 10 percent to 22 percent in the same period. The increase in settlement with mixed cropping and woodland with scattered cropping implied increased continuous cultivation, shortened fallow periods, invasion of marginal lands, drying of natural springs, change in water sources, and increased migration. In absence of land management plans and none enforcement of conservation bylaws, weak and/or uncoordinated institutions, the change in state of land increased encroachment of marginal lands. Furthermore, the study revealed that smallholder farmers responded to decline in soil fertility by increasing use of new crop varieties and animal manure, limiting field size and increasing land fragmentation. In addition, there was limited agricultural development, especially agricultural mechanization apart from spraying machines for cashew nut and small irrigation scheme in Lifua village. Moreover, 99.4 percent of farmers in the study area got new cassava varieties from their neighbours. Logistic regression showed that influence of socio-economic factors on smallholder farmers’ livelihoods was not uniform. Young and single households dominated in fish selling and those with high incomes were leading cattle keepers. The major conclusion is that the extent and magnitude of change in smallholder farmers’ livelihoods differed between villages and households. In order to improve smallholder farmers’ livelihoods, this study recommend Ludewa District Council to train farmers in improved livestock keeping, beekeeping, fish farming, and commercial tree planting which are viable activities to support livelihoods of financial constrained households in degraded lands.

Item Type: Thesis (["eprint_fieldopt_thesis_type_phd" not defined])
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Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2011 06:18
Last Modified: 27 May 2015 11:43

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