Factors Influencing Changes in Crop Diversity in Lushoto District, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
Lushoto district is one of the main producers of food stuff in Tanga region. Due to over cultivation, land use changes are inevitable. Consequently, the gradual demise of traditional crops has influenced farmers to adopt new crops and improved crop varieties as a coping strategy. Available studies confirm adoption of crops/varieties but hardly any has concentrated on adopted and abandoned crop varieties, associated factors and the implications of changes to the society and the environment, hence the need for this study. Masereka, Sunga and Nkelei villages were selected purposively as they were good representation of aggro-ecological zones in the district, where various crops and varieties are grown. A sample of 101 farmers was selected randomly for a questionnaire survey. Interviews, FGDs, field observation and documentary review techniques were used in data collection. Quantitative and descriptive methods were used to analyse data. Factors that enhanced or reduced crop diversity were: land use changes, technological development, market conditions, nature of crop variety and farmers' characteristics. The implications of changes in crop diversity to society included; increased food security, increased or decreased household's income and opening up of new opportunities for disadvantaged groups. To the environment, changes led to soil erosion, drought, loss of traditional crops/varieties, water contamination and at times its improved landscape. The study recommends increased crop diversity using modern technology, enhanced market systems and improvement of farmers' knowledge. Negative trends leading to land use changes can be contained by enacting and implementing local bylaws.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr.Wilbert Chagula Library, class mark (THS EAF SB123.3.T34J85)
Agrobiodiversity, Crops, Germplasm resources, Plant varieties, Lushoto district, Tanzania
Jumanne, Saumu (2010) Factors Influencing Changes in Crop Diversity in Lushoto District, Tanzania, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam