Beef Production Practices and Responses to Climate Change in the Rangelands of Lake Victoria Basin in Uganda

Type Journal Article - International Journal of Agriculture and Forestry
Title Beef Production Practices and Responses to Climate Change in the Rangelands of Lake Victoria Basin in Uganda
Volume 5
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 121-130
Rangelands provide the cheapest source of feed for ruminant livestock and account for more than 90% of beef production in Uganda. Rangelands are however being degraded due to changes in resource ownership, management practices, and market forces that exert pressure on rangeland resources. Many farmers are not aware about the existence of alternative feeding practices that can be used to supplement grazing, increase growth rate and returns to investment. This study was therefore conducted to understand the current beef production practices and assess climate variability and change impacts in the beef cattle production systems in the rangelands of Lake Victoria basin. The study was conducted in Rakai, Isingiro and Lyantonde interviewing 33, 37 and 30 cattle producing households. 48.5, 73 and 69.9% of the households in Rakai, Isingiro and Lyantonde District had stayed in the area for more than 20 years with 97.6% of household heads having attained formal education. Average land owned per household was higher in Lyantonde, followed by Isingiro and lowest in Rakai with 738, 364 and 85 acres respectively, with majority of land owned in Lyantonde and Isingiro being under mailo land ownership system while squatter and leasehold systems comprised the majority of land in Rakai. The majority of households, 69.5 and 54.6% in Rakai and Lyantonde Districts respectively were small scale farmers owning 1 – 50 cattle while the majority in Isingiro (39.3%) were large scale farmers owning more than 100 cattle. Pastures were the common feed resource in all districts and most farmers experienced months of feed scarcity every year. The major factors affecting livestock production were parasites and diseases (26.4%), shortage of pasture (13.2%), high prices of drugs and inputs (12.1%), water shortages (11.6%) and drought (9.4%). Farmers perceived climate change in terms of decreases in rainfall and increases in temperatures and frequency of drought. Farmers perceived that climate change is mainly caused by God’s wish, poor farming practices, normal change and ancestral curses. Education level of farmers, land ownership and land size were the major factors affecting farmers’ perceptions on climate change, causes and their adoption of adaptation measures. Farmers with high levels of education, and owning large chunks of land under mailo land systems attributed climate change to poor farming practices and adopted more adaptation measures than their counterparts. Use of crop residues in livestock feeding, improved management of pastures, fencing off grazing areas, water harvesting and stocking rate control were noted to form a plausible climate change adaptation package for agro-pastoral communities.

Related studies