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Integrated natural resources management: a strategy for food security and poverty alleviation in Kwalei village, Lushoto district, Tanzania

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A watershed participatory approach study was formulated with the objectives of integrating soil conservation afforestation and improved/disease tolerant seeds technologies into farmers’ practices in order to reduce degradation of natural resources hence improve community livelihood. Farmers identified soil erosion low soil fertility and poor varieties as pressing constraints. Farmer researcher groups (FRG) were formed one for each on soil conservation tomatoes cabbage bananas and snap beans. Different groups were trained on aspects to be tested. During assessment FRG were interviewed using open and closed questions key informant and focus discussions. Results showed that construction of conservation structures which started with 24 increased to 98 farmers. Physical conservation measures opened were 6958 m long infiltration ditches (Fanya juu) and 9515m bench terraces. Furthermore about 280 m long diversion channel was excavated while about 5800 multipurpose trees were planted. In addition vegetable growers including those in neighbourhood villages adopted use of improved tomato and bean seeds and banana germplasm. Livelihood indices showed that farmers who conserved their land had 3 to 5 folds yield increase. The informal and formal surveys revealed that 150 farmers purchased new bicycles 11 and 80 bought mobile phones and diary cows respectively. Similarly food security increased from 3 to 9 months y r-1. This study concludes that participatory integrated natural resources management addresses farmers’ priorities which is poverty reduction and improved food security. Secondly farmers opt easily for technologies with quick financial and food security return

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