Assessment of Silvicultural practices implemented and challenges faced by Eucalyptus grandis farmers in Ngando Sub County, Butambala district
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ABSTRACT Different benefits of commercial tree farming have triggered many smallholder local farmers to gain interest in the activity. Eucalyptus grandis species have been chosen by many local farmers because; they have high growth rates and are widely adaptable to soils. Many local farmers have planted Eucalyptus majorly for income generation through the production of firewood and small building poles with a few targeting timbers and larger construction poles. Though farmers with different ambitions have planted Eucalyptus, the expected benefits have continued to be relatively low. This has been mainly attributed to the limited implementation of appropriate silvicultural practices for Eucalyptus plantations caused by challenges faced by the farmers resulting in a limitation in the management processes. Thus the main aim of the study was to examine the challenges faced by Eucalyptus grandis local farmers during the implementation of silvicultural activities. The study was to find out how the farmers sourced their planting materials, prepared their land, managed their plantations and the challenges they faced. Using questionnaires, 30 purposively sampled Eucalyptus grandis local farmers were interviewed in Bukesa and Kasozi parishes of Ngando Sub County, Butambala district. The results indicated that the majority (70%) sourced their planting material from uncertified tree nurseries, the majority used manual means (80%) under land preparation and the majority never carried out management practices on their plantations like pre-planting spraying (96.7%), fertilizer use (60%), pesticide use (70%), pruning (70%) and fire management (100%). Many farmers were challenged by lack of eucalyptus silvicultural knowledge (90%), expensive resources (93.3%) and poor record-keeping (82.7%). The study concluded that these Challenges faced by Eucalyptus grandis farmers could be addressed through; allocation of a forestry extension officer in the area for starting up demonstration tree nurseries and Eucalyptus plantations in the area for practical knowledge enhancement. Tree farmers to start up union Sacco for provision of enough finances and the government under farmers’ development programs to provide mechanized farming tools, pesticides, fertilizers, weeding chemicals to reduce on expensive resources problems for the Eucalyptus grandis farmers. Keywords: Eucalyptus grandis, Silvicultural Practices Implemented, Smallholder farmers.