Assessment of urban agroforestry systems, practices and their contribution to livelihoods in the peri-urban areas of Lira City East Division
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Urban agroforestry systems and practices are important in the livelihoods of the people who live in urban areas. This study was undertaken in Lira City East Division in May 2022. The objectives were to: (i) assess the peri-urban agroforestry systems and practices, (ii) examine the contributions of peri-urban agroforestry systems / practices to the livelihoods of the households and (iii) document the challenges faced by household that are practicing agroforestry. The study was conducted in atego and adekokwok wards of lira city east division. Case study design involving household survey, focus group discussions and key informant interviews was used. Sample size was obtained using Kish Leslies (1965) formula for calculating sample size; two wards were purposively selected and two cells per ward selected using simple random sampling techniques. Semi-structured questionnaires were used for household survey data collection while checklists and background questionnaires were used to triangulate the household (HH) survey data during Key Informant interviews, focus group discussions and transect walks. Household Survey data was analyzed descriptively and inferentially using Excel spreadsheet and MINITAB statistical package. Data from focus group discussions, key informant interviews and transect walks were subjected to in-depth content analysis, coding system and analytical comparisons. The major agroforestry systems in Lira city east division were:- (i) agro-silviculture (30.8%) with scattered trees in crop fields, shade / nurse trees and hedgerow inter-cropping as the main practices; (ii) agrosilvopastoral systems (27.85%) with windbreaks, hedges and live fences as the major practices, (iii) silvopastoral systems (22.36%) with home gardens, ornamental planting and fodder banks as the main practices and (iv) sequential agroforestry system (16.46%) with Taungya, woodlots and water breaks as the major practices. The main contributions of agroforestry systems / practices to the livelihoods of the households in lira city east were: contributing to food security, reducing conflicts, providing security and acting as wind breaks, source of building / construction materials, source of income, increasing household sustainability and resilience, source of energy, beautifying the environment, contributing to health and nutrition, providing fruits and nuts as copping mechanism during hunger periods, and creating favorable micro climate for crops, livestock and humans. The main challenges were: (i) limited land and unclear land tenure, (ii) limited extension services on agroforestry, (iii) Lack of buffers and capital for long term investment in agroforestry, (iv) limited research, (v) limited knowledge on agroforestry policies and (vi) other challenges such as theft of livestock, wild fires, soil infertility and competition. The key way forward were: (i) hiring / renting / buying land (ii) recruiting and deploying more agroforestry (AF) extension officers, (iii) getting loans from VSLA1 /SACCO2 / Banks, (iv) conducting research and disseminating findings, (v) training communities on agroforestry policies (vi) having dogs or security guards, creating fire lines, training on how to improve soil fertility etc. Accordingly government should take lead in implementing the proposed way forward if agroforestry is to be more valuable to the people of lira city.