On farm conservation strategies and use values of indigenous fruit trees in Atanga sub-county, Pader district
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Conservation of indigenous fruit trees (IFTs) species is crucial for provision of livelihood support functions among rural communities and restoration of ecosystems worldwide. This study was conducted in Atanga Sub County, Pader district. The general aim was to elicit knowledge on on-farm conservation strategies and use values of IFTs species in Atanga Sub County. The specific objectives were to document highly prioritized IFTs, assess establishment methods and management practices for IFTs, analyze the use values of IFTs and challenges of on farm conservation strategies then examine socio-economic factors influencing the conservation and uses of IFTs in Atanga Sub County. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to capture primary data from a total of 90 households in addition to 6 focus groups discussions (FDGs) and key informant interviews too. Collected data were coded and entered in SPSS statistical package (Version 16). The Use Value Indices (UVI) technique was used to determine major prioritized IFTs species which included Vitellaria paradoxa C.F.Gaertn, Tamarindus indica L, Saba comorensis (Bojer ex A.D.C), Anona senegalensis Pers and 4 naturalized fruit trees species which including Mangifera indica L, Carica papaya L, Citrus sinensis (L) Osbeck, and Psidium guajava L. Most of these were naturally growing and protected IFTs. The dominant IFTs establishment methods were use of wildings, seeds, and seedlings then reported management practices were weeding, pruning, fencing, and coppicing. Overall IFTs Use Value Index generally corresponded to the number of uses of a particular tree species and varied between 2.3 and 1.6. This implies that communities generally value a particular IFT species for at least more than one use. Challenges usually faced by the respondents included wild fires, pests and diseases and major opportunities for remedying them include spraying with pesticides, ash-water mixture and weeding. On the other hand, chi-square analysis test indicated that sex and education levels had significant influence (X²=12.048, p= 0.034) and (X²=06.019, p=0.046) respectively, on people’s choice of use and conservation of IFTs in Atanga Sub County. Therefore, there is need to initiate education campaigns among farmers on the food, income as well as other potential uses of IFTs species, germplasm conservation and propagation techniques, the dangers of deforestation and the importance of sustainable use of IFTs resources, by encouraging on-farm tree-planting culture and agro forestry initiatives in Atanga Sub County, Pader district.