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Homegardens in Uganda: Diversity and Potential


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Presented in October 2014 at the 4th ISOFAR Scientific Conference 'Building Organic Bridges' at the Organic World Congress 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey.

The original report is online at Organic e-prints

Published in: Environment
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Homegardens in Uganda: Diversity and Potential

  1. 1. Ugandan homegardens are complex farming systems 1 They contain many underutilized food plants 2. Strong potential exists for the expansion of agrobiodiversity, the promotion of indigenous plants 3, and the promotion of this underutilized diversity in Ugandan Organic. However, a clearer understanding of the influencing factors on agrobiodiversity 4, and the dynamics of homegarden systems 1 is needed at the local level 4. Homegardens in Uganda: Diversity and Potential C. W. Whitney1,2,*, J. Gebauer1, 1 Faculty of Life Sciences, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Marie-Curie-Straße 1, 47533 Kleve, Germany *contact:, +49 2821 80673 +664 Introduction Potential •  Potential exists for the expansion of homegardens in Uganda and the subsequent promotion of indigenous plants for traditional food and nutrition. •  Potential exists for the Organic movement to meet the diverse demands of the Ugandan people, to utilize the agrobiodiversity of homegardens, and to include indigenous plants. Future Research more information is needed at the local level to help create ecologically sound, economically appropriate and socially relevant solutions. •  Consider the dynamics of homegarden systems •  Consider the influence of the structure of these systems on biodiversity retention, and in understanding how to minimize loss of biodiversity with changing agricultural practices Results & Discussion Materials & Methods Conclusions Research Aims In determining the importance of Ugandan homegarden diversity for Organic Markets the aims of the review were two-fold: •  Ascertain plant diversity in homegardens in Uganda •  Ascertain plant diversity in Organic markets in Uganda •  Literature review was conducted to ascertain the biodiversity in homegardens and Organic markets in Uganda. •  Interviews and data review from the National Organic Agriculture Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU) and the Uganda Organic Certification Ltd. (UgoCert). Acknowledgements Funding This study was undertaken as part of ‘Screening Crop Varieties Against Post Harvest Performance’ (031A247B) financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the collaborative research project GlobE-RELOAD. Support This work would not have been possible without the support of the National Organic Agriculture Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU) and the Uganda Organic Certification Ltd. (UgoCert) Figure 1. Map of Uganda Figure 2. Bunches of the common local varieties of Musa accuminata (Ebitoke and Bugoya) on daily Ugandan wet-markets Literature Cited 1. Tabuti, J. R. S. Important woody plant species, their management and conservation status in Balawoli Sub-county, Uganda. Ethnobotany Research & Applications 10, 269-286 (2012). 2. Tabuti, J. R. S., Muwanika, V. B., Arinaitwe, M. Z. & Ticktin, T. Conservation of priority woody species on farmlands: A case study from Nawaikoke sub-county, Uganda. Applied Geography 31, 456-462 (2011). 3. Scales, B. R. & Marsden, S. J. Biodiversity in small-scale tropical agroforests: a review of species richness and abundance shifts and the factors influencing them. Environmental Conservation 35, 160-172 (2008). 4. Buyinza, M. Land-use intensity in the tree cropping homesteads in Kamuli, Eastern Uganda. Agricultural Journal 4, 46-51 (2009). 5. FAO. State of the World’s Forests, 2011 (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 2011). 6. Eilu, G., Oriekot, J. & Tushabe, H. Conservation of indigenous plants outside protected areas in Tororo District, eastern Uganda. African Journal of Ecology 45, 73-78 (2007). 7. Kakudidi, E. K. Cultural and social uses of plants from and around Kibale National Park, Western Uganda. African Journal of Ecology 42, 114-118 (2004). 8. Niñez, V. Introduction: Household gardens and small-scale food production. Food and nutrition Bulletin 7, 1-5 (1985). Keywords: Uganda, homegardens, Organic potential, rare plants, indigenous crops, agrobiodiversity Ugandan homegardens Ugandan homegardens are complex and small-scale farming systems 1 optimized to meet multiple needs and maximize resources with multi-purpose plants 5,2 including many indigenous plants 6,3 selected over generations to fill farm-ecological niches 3. Figure 3. Typical homegarden with plants filling a diversity of niches e.g. Amaranthus, Ananas, Carica, Malus, Mangifera, Musa, Passiflora, Persea, Solanaceae, and Zingiberaceae spp. cf. 8. Ugandans uses of indigenous plant species Ugandans use many plant parts 7, primarily for food 5, but also for a diversity of technical, economic 6, and socio-cultural uses 6,7. Despite this variety there are many underutilized food plants in Uganda 2,5, threatened by more crop species, more intensive management and shortening of cultivation cycles 4. Figure 5. Weekend wet-market stall containing a variety of underutilized indigenous plants e.g. Ocimum, and Pennisetum, Crassulaceae, and Zingiberaceae spp. Ugandan Organic markets National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU) and their company Uganda Organic Certification Limited (Ugocert ) offer fresh and dried fruit, herbs, tea and spices nuts and butters, and processed essential oils with around 20 species of bark cloth. Typical Ugandan daily wet markets contain Musa spp. with little else (Fig. 2). However, weekend wet markets have a greater variety of indigeous species (Fig. 5) Homegardens are on the decline in Uganda, mainly due to social and economic pressures 1. The indigenous plants that many of them contain are also in danger 2 due to over-harvesting 6, destructive harvesting, pests, lack of farmer’s knowledge, and droughts 2,3. Figure 4. Landscape view of a typical Ugandan Homegarden less than 1 hectare containing multiple crops and indigenous species around the home (after Jacke & Toensmeier’s book ‘Edible Forest Gardens’ 2005) Threats to Uganda Homegardens and Indigenous Plants