Rainwater harvesting and rural livelihood improvement in banana growing areas of Uganda
Recurrent crises of food insecurity and poverty are widespread in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). There is an urgent need to increase food production so as to reduce bad nutrition and alleviate poverty. The availability and management of water contributes crucially to the variation in yields. Since the majority of farmers in SSA practice rain-fed agriculture under adverse climatic conditions, it is crucial to use water-conserving technologies systematically and make rainwater management an integral part of land use and crop management. While rainwater harvesting technologies (RHT) can increase productivity of rain-fed agriculture significantly at reasonable costs, successful adoption of RHT and accompanying high yields still remain primarily at family level and/or in geographical ‘pockets’. The big question is ‘why have farmers not widely adopted these apparently cheap and beneficial practices?’ An adequate understanding of the factors that lead some farmers to adopt RHT, characteristics of households that use RHT as well as technology transfer approaches offer valuable insights. Based on focus group discussions and a questionnaire survey covering adopters and non-adopters of RHT, and interviews with extension officers conducted in two banana growing districts in Uganda, this paper reveals circumstances, incentives, and support that would facilitate widespread adoption of RHT.
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