Cropping systems that simultaneously achieve biodiversity conservation as well as improved livelihoods: a case study of Kikuube district.
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Various cropping systems have been adopted and used around the globe to produce crops for food as well as cash crops. However, there is concern about how different cropping systems impact on native biodiversity in the process of providing humans with a living. This study therefore sought to identify the cropping systems that can simultaneously achieve biodiversity conservation as well as improve livelihoods. Three specific objectives were addressed by the study; (1) To assess the diversity of woody tree species in the different cropping systems in Kabwoya sub county, (2) To assess the factors influencing the choice of cropping system among farmers in Kabwoya sub county. (3) To assess the contribution of the different cropping systems towards house hold income and food security among farmers in Kabwoya sub county. Four cropping systems were used that is coffee banana system, sugarcane system, tobacco system and annual crops system. Diversity of tree species across cropping systems was determined using 10 plots measuring 50m by 50m in each cropping system. Results showed that; coffee banana system had the highest diversity index value (H) of 3.18 followed by annual crops with 3.00, tobacco system with 2.79, and lastly sugarcane system with diversity index of 2.27. Choice of cropping system was mainly determined by age of household head, tenure in which land is owned, and gender. Contribution of various cropping systems towards livelihoods of respondents was determined by comparing incomes obtained by farmers from the cropping system(s) and farmer’s expenditure on food stuffs. Farmers who engaged in sugarcane growing earned relatively higher incomes but also spent much on foodstuffs compared to those who engaged in annual crops who earned relatively low incomes but spent less on foodstuffs. Farmers who engaged in both coffee banana and annual crops were found to earn relatively higher incomes with very low expenditure on food stuffs. I recommend that agro forestry based cropping systems should be encouraged among farmers in kabwoya sub county since such systems are found to best conserve biodiversity as well as improve people’s livelihoods for sustainable development.