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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 2 (2012 Deadline)

Sustainable coffee-banana agroforestry systems to adapt to climate change, enhance food security and alleviate poverty in Uganda

PI: Godfrey Kagezi (Coffee Research Center, National Agricultural Crop Resources Research Institute, National Agricultural Research Organization)
U.S. Partner: Ivette Perfecto (University of Michigan)
Project Dates: August 2013 to July 2015
 

2-253 Black Coffee Twig Borer

A black coffee twig borer observed for the first time in Uganda(Photo courtesy Dr. Kazegi).
Coffee and bananas are key crops in eradicating extreme poverty and hunger as well as ensuring environmental sustainability in Uganda. However, production of both crops is far below the attainable yields, mainly due to abiotic (soil, water, temperature) and biotic (pests, diseases, weeds) stresses. Modern research has identified integrating shade trees in coffee-banana systems as the entry point for re-establishing productivity of both crops. However, these systems have not yet been fully quantified and there are no recommendations on how (or if) to intercrop with regard to optimal planting arrangements; shade management regimes; and best soil, water, and crop management options. This study will explore the best coffee-banana agroforestry combinations to achieve the best trade-offs in food, income, risks, and environmental sustainability. Specifically, it will (1) characterize existing coffee-banana agroforestry systems; (2) identify biotic and abiotic constraints including farmers’ coping strategies; (3) generate an improved Integrated Crop Management package; (4) develop advocacy and lobby tools that can strengthen the value chain; and (5) develop capacity for research and promote synergies among actors along the value chain. A questionnaire will be administered to 500 randomly selected households in the five major coffee growing regions of Uganda to gather data on various socioeconomic and agricultural topics. Another questionnaire will be administered to various value chain actors to elicit information on perceptions on improvements in the input/output markets and potential for premium prices for shade-grown coffee. Field diagnostic studies will also be conducted,  and extension and training materials on best practices will be developed for farmers, extension, students, researchers and other stakeholders.
 
The ultimate development impact of this project is to improve agriculture and sustainable environmental management in Uganda. Managing the abiotic, biotic, and socioeconomics constraints will result in improved production and profitability of both bananas and coffee, which should lead to improved income at the household and national levels through increased sales of the crops. Ecologically, the project will promote environmental sustainability through conservation of biodiversity and mitigation of microclimatic extremes, thus aiding in adaptation to climatic change. In the long run, this information could be scaled up to other farmers in Lake Victoria region with similar farming systems. In addition, the project will contribute to building and improving research capacity for the Coffee Research Center through training of two Master’s-level students and provision of short-term courses to students, research technicians, and other COREC staff.
 
Summary of Recent Activities
 In the final year of the project, diagnostic surveys to characterize existing coffee-banana agro-forestry systems and also identify the major biotic and abiotic constraints of coffee and bananas in the coffee-banana agro-forestry systems, including existing farmers’ coping strategies, were conducted in the five major coffee producing regions of Uganda, namely southwestern, central, West Nile and northern, Busoga and Mt. Elgon. In each region, 10 districts were selected at random and in each district, 10 households selected randomly were sampled and data collected on their farms. Diverse cropping systems, including coffee as a mono-crop, banana as a monocrop, coffee-banana intercrop and coffee-banana-shade trees inter-crop were observed in all the regions. In central and Busoga regions, farmers were growing Robusta coffee and in Mt. Elgon, Arabica coffee. However, in southwestern and West Nile sub-region, farmers were growing both Robusta and Arabica coffee.

Farmers identified a number of shade tree species which they consider ‘good’ neighbors to coffee and bananas. Combining farmers’ indigenous knowledge on ‘good’ neighbors with information of the abundance of tree species in the various regions, a recommendation for shade trees for the various coffee growing regions has been generated. These include: - Central region – Ficus natalensis, Albizia coriaria and Ficus mucuso; Busoga sub-region - Ficus natalensis, Ficus mucuso and Ficus ovate; Mid-northern sub-region - Ficus natalensis, Albizia coriaria and Cordia africana; Mt. Elgon region – Cordia africana, Albizia coriaria and Ficus natalensis; Western region - Ficus natalensis, Albizia coriaria and Ficus mucuso; and West Nile - Ficus natalensis, Albizia coriaria and Ficus mucuso. Farmers were also able to identify shade trees they consider ‘bad’ neighbors to coffee and bananas, notably, Eucalyptus spp. Cassia, Pinus spp and Markhamia lutea. The reasons why some trees are considered “good” neighbors to banana and coffee by farmers include: - provision of optimal shade, having less competition to coffee and bananas for soil nutrient and moisture, provision of self-mulching from leaf abscission, leaf litter decomposing faster and easier as compared to other tree species etc.

On the other hand, farmers noted that they consider a tree as ‘bad’ neighbor because these trees are heavy feeders and thus offer a lot of competition to coffee and bananas for moisture, space and nutrients. Farmers also think that the leaf litter of these trees does not easily decomposed whereas; some harbor pests (such as biting ants) and diseases. Among the biotic constraints, farmers reported weeds, particularly the couch grass and annual broad-leaved weeds as well as pests and diseases; particularly the black coffee twig borer (BCTB) for coffee and banana bacterial wilt (BBW) for bananas. On the other hand, farmers reported declining soil fertility, limited moisture, soil erosion as the most limiting abiotic constraints they experience. In addition, farmers reported an assortment of socioeconomic constraints including: - lack of capital, limited and unaffordable labor, input and output markets as well as a number of gender-related issues. Generally more than 75% of the farmers interviewed had an idea of climate change and its causes, particularly, prolonged drought and poor yields in both coffee and bananas. At least 50% of the farmers interviewed reported that they plant trees as an adaption to climate change. Farmers reported shade, food source and firewood as the major advantages accrued from tree systems in the coffee-banana systems whereas; competition for nutrients, moisture and light was the most prominent disadvantage associated with coffee-banana-agroforestry systems. Farmers also reported that they usually protect trees/shrubs they find on their farms; fruit trees, Maesopsis eminii and Ficus sp were the most reported protected trees. Limited space and lack of seedlings were reported as the major reasons hindering farmers from planting more trees. 

After the survey in the various regions, follow-up studies were conducted and also samples of major pests and diseases of coffee and banana were collected for identification. The most prevalent insect pests of coffee in all the regions were leaf skeltonizers, tailed caterpillars and leaf eating beetles. However, the notorious black coffee twig borer, Xylosandrous compactus was pronounced in the central and Busoga regions. However, the pest was not observed in the West Nile/northern and Mt. Elgon regions. This information has been used to update the existing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) package for the twig borer. For the coffee diseases, the coffee wilt disease continues to be the major disease in the central and Busoga region.

In northern Uganda, the disease was observed on only one farm but it is nonexistent in Mt Elgon because the region grows only Arabica coffee in Uganda attacks only Robusta coffee, not Arabica coffee. Other important diseases observed during the studies include the Red blister particularly in the central region as well as coffee leaf rust and coffee berry disease in Mt Elgon. The most important banana pests observed were the banana weevils and nematodes. For the banana diseases, black sigaoka and fusarium wilt were generally the most important diseases. However, the notorious banana bacterial wilt (BBW) was prevalent in the central and southwestern regions. In conclusion, the coffee-banana agroforestry systems are popular in all the surveyed regions. However, farmers are faced with a cocktail of constraints (including agronomic, abiotic, biotic and socioeconomic) which hinder production of both coffee and bananas. The majority of farmers have sufficient knowledge on climate change, its generally effects and its effects on both coffee and bananas, and the use of shade trees to mitigate for the changes in climates. Farmers had good knowledge of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ trees neighboring coffee and bananas and this information has been used to generate recommended shade trees for the coffee growing regions in Uganda.

Media (print and electronic) and farmer-to-farmer communication approaches were the most important sources of agricultural information for the farmers. However, access and use of agricultural credit facilities is still very low in Uganda. The project results have been used to generate at least three training materials for the farmers, posters and manuscripts (see attached supplementary information). The information has also been used to update the coffee management calendars (also attached) which have been used to train farmers and other stakeholders in Farmer Field Schools across the coffee-banana growing regions. The information gather in mid-northern Uganda is very important because this is a new virgin area for coffee production but at the same time experiences a long dry spell. Therefore, promotion of the coffee-banana-agroforestry systems will contribute highly to the aims of the project of developing sustainable coffee-banana agroforestry systems to adapt to climate change, enhance food security and alleviate poverty in Uganda.



 
 
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