Tobacco curing and conservation of indigenous tree species in Aii-Vu Sub County Arua District
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Farmers’ knowledge was elicited on tobacco growing and challenges related to conservation of indigenous tree species in Aii-vu Sub County. The specific objectives of the survey include: (i) To document the major sources and preferred fuel wood species for tobacco curing, (ii) To determine the quantity of fuel wood consumed for curing tobacco by kiln type, and (iii) To examine the challenges associated with tobacco curing and opportunities for conservation of indigenous tree species in Aii-vu Sub County, Arua District. Sixty tobacco growing households were randomly sampled and interviewed using a questionnaire. Key informant interviews were also conducted. In addition, measurement of barn sizes and quantity of fuel wood used in curing tobacco were conducted. The various responses were coded and entered in an SPSS computer program. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the various parameters. Regression analysis was used to test the relationship between the quantity of fuel wood used to cure tobacco with the kiln size and quantity of tobacco to be cured. Average of fuel wood consumed to cure a kilogram of tobacco was also calculated for each kiln type. The major sources of fuel wood for curing tobacco were plantation forests and natural forests reported by 85% and 46.7% of the respondents respectively. Indigenous tree species were most preferred for curing tobacco (66.7%) followed by plantation species (31.7%). It was also found that majority of the farmers (90%) had traditional barn and the rest (10%) had rocket barn. The quantity of fuel wood consumed by rocket barn to cure a kilogram of tobacco was less (0.0025m3) compared to the one consumed by traditional barn (0.0089m3) making rocket barn more efficient. Bad weather was identified as the major challenge in tobacco curing, followed labour and fire wood shortage. Opportunities for conserving indigenous species in tobacco industry are; establishing woodlots (88.3%) followed by promotion of agroforestry 978.3%) and sustainable harvesting (33.7%). There is need to promote planting of both exotic and indigenous tree species as fuel wood for curing tobacco. Farmers also need to plant their own trees to reduce the distance to fuel wood sources. Promotion of energy efficient rocket barns would curb fire wood shortage and strengthen conservation strategies for indigenous tree species by all stakeholders in tobacco industry.