Farmers' perception and attitude towards the ban of rice growing in Doho wetlands, Butaleja District Eastern Uganda
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Over the years, human activities both industrial and agricultural have degraded the wetland ecosystem services which called for government intervention with a ban. The purpose of this study was to examine the farmers’ perception and attitude towards the ban of rice growing in the wetlands of Doho, Butaleja district. The study was based on the following study objectives which were to investigate the farmers’ perception and attitude towards the ban of rice growing in wetlands, its effects on the socio-economic wellbeing of farmers, farmers’ coping mechanisms and measures taken by both the local people and the government to enforce the ban of rice growing in the wetlands. The study adopted a cross sectional research designs were only rice farmers of Doho were randomly selected. Data was collected from 64 respondents using questionnaires, 5 key informants and 3 focus group discussions. Study results show that most farmers are not willing to leave rice cultivation in wetlands as wetlands are considered as their main source of livelihood and income generating activity. The ban has caused more negative effects to the socio-economic wellbeing of the people such as reduced income, hunger, poverty, theft, land conflicts, migrations, school dropout rates and others than the positive ones such as reduced flooding, restoration of ecosystem services and others. Farmers continue to lack what to do to cope up with the ban which has resulted into the continuous use of wetlands for rice cultivation in the area leading to resistance. This brought a concern by both the government and the local people to put measures such as mass awareness and sensitization campaigns, engagement meetings and others. Thus, the ban should be strengthened, the government should carry out awareness campaign to educate and sensitize the community about the dangers such as constant flooding, ecosystem destruction, global warming among others and effects of cultivating in wetlands to gain consciousness and knowledge on how to conserve and protect the wetland from degradation. In addition, the government should continue to strengthen and enforce laws and policies that aim at guarding wetlands for instance Environmental Protection Policies should be implemented and further translated to local languages to enable the local people understand laws and policies guarding wetland misuse to call upon a joint participation between the government and the local people in protecting and preserving the wetlands from degradation.