Agroforestry potential in the Tolon-Kumbungu District of Northern Region

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The agro forestry potential in the Tolon - Kumbungu district was investigated using a survey. The objectives of the study were to describe the land use systems and identify the major indigenous trees in the area, identify the major production constraints of the land use systems and to identify the socio-economic factors that may limit or encourage the introduction of agro forestry interventions as well as suggest probable agro forestry interventions to alleviate the major production constraints in the area. The survey was carried out in twelve (12) communities in the district consisting of 120 households. The methodology used in the study was Diagnosis and Design methodology but the approach used to gather the primary data was socio-economic survey using a structured questionnaire. The results indicated that the major agricultural land use in the area consists of around-homes and far-away farms with varying degrees of crop mixture in the field. The around-homes farms are usually cropped with maize while the main crop mixture in the far-away farms consisted of maize/sorghum/groundnuts mixture. Major production constraints of the land use systems as identified by the survey included general decline in soil fertility, inadequate rainfall and lack of money to purchase inputs such as fertilizer among others. The role trees play in the area especially the economic parkland trees such as the Vitellaria paradoxum (sheanut trees) and Parkia biglobosa (dawadawa) has motivated many farmers to adore tree planting but the main constraints to tree planting were perennial bush fires and water shortages together with livestock destruction of plants. Others included management problems and difficulty in getting tree seedlings in the area. With regards to tree tenure, the farmers generally do not own Farkia biglobosa (dawadawa tree) from whose land the tree grows. The results also indicated that the major indigenous tree species in the area included Vitellaria paradoxun; (sheanut trees), Parkia biglobosa (Dawadawa), Diospyros mespiliformis (ebony), Lannea acida and Ficus gnaphalocarpa among others. The resource endowment of the farmers particularly the land belonged to them and this coupled with other factors may motivate them to accept and adopt agro forestry as a land use practice. Even though, the land holding in the area is generally small due to fragmentation of this natural resource base. The farmers in Tolon-Kumbungu district are well aware of the importance of trees and are prepared to plant them in their crop fields, but the individual farmer land holding is small in the area. This however, does not deter farmers from expressing interest in tree planting. Some of the farmers have already planted a lot of trees especially the exotic tree species to provide fruits, building poles and other benefits provided by the trees. Even though the land holding in the study area is generally small for individual farmers, they usually have many farm plots located under different soil conditions and this is strategy in coping with multiplicity of crops cultivated in the area. Farmers used this to guard against risk of total crop failure since they are totally rain-fed agriculturists. Maximum land holding size in the area does not exceed nineteen (19) acres per individual and as such majority of the farmers are subsistent farmers whose primary objective is to produce food for the family.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Agroforestry in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science, 2005