Effect of farmers attitude to agriculture on agronomic management of banana plantations in Bunyangabu, Isingirio and Nakaseke districts
Katende, Kevin Bugeza
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Banana yields in Uganda remain low despite the availability of appropriate technologies and their dissemination through various government programmes and projects. One of the major reasons to this might be farmers‟ attitude to agriculture. The following study was conducted to assess the impact of farmers attitude towards agriculture on banana agronomic management and fresh bunch weights in districts of Bunyangabu, Isingiro and Nakaseke. A survey approach was used. Banana growing areas in the mentioned districts were chosen for sampling banana farmers. A total of thirty farms (10 farms per district) were purposively selected basing on the criterion that they had banana fields. A questionnaire was used to collect household biographic and socioeconomic data on crop management. The data estimating mat area and fresh bunch weight were collected from the banana fields of the sampled farms. Other data included weed height and mulch depth. The data were subjected to Chi square tests, multivariate analysis and analysis of variance (unbalanced design). It was found that farmers attitude to agriculture ranged from absolute negative to mixed positive. The sampled farmers fitted in three clusters. Cluster 1 had farmers who were pessimistic about agriculture, while those in Cluster 3 were optimistic about agriculture. Cluster 2 farmers were intermediate between those in Cluster 1 and 2. Cluster 1 farmers were mainly men ((2 = 4.812; Sig. = 0.028) and the most educated (11 years of formal education), while those in Cluster 3 were mainly women and the least educated (5 years of formal education). Those in Cluster 2 were the youngest (30 years and below). Those in Cluster 1 had the tallest weeds (16 cm) in their banana fields but applied the most manure (8 t ha-1) and produced the biggest bunches (20 kg) despite using the smallest mat area (4.9 m2mat-1) compared to those in Cluster 3. It was concluded that even though there were distinct differences in attitude towards farming as a way of life, this was overridden by other factors, possibly resource endowment, in the management of banana fields. It was recommended that policy interventions be designed to ensure farmers have a larger share of the profits from agricultural produce and that further studies with a larger sample space be conducted to verify the findings of the current study.