Homegardens are traditional agroforestry systems with complex structure and
multiple functions (Das and Das, 2005). Smallholder
farmers cultivate different crops in the homegarden as a strategy of livelihood
diversification which helps to stabilize their sustenance (Abebe
et al., 2010). Nair (2008) report indicates
that homegarden agroforestry is an age old and time-tested land use approach
that makes the best use of natures goods and services.
These land uses approach have attracted the research attention since late 1970s
(Kumar and Nair, 2004; Das and Das,
2005; Nair, 2008). Although, the recorded reports
on homegardens are not globally exhaustive (Maroyi, 2009),
the biophysical and socioeconomic contributions of homegarden agroforestry practices
are well appreciated throughout the world (Mendez, 2001;
Kumar and Nair, 2004). This is particularly more relevant
in tropical region where homegarden agroforestry practices have been a way of
life for century for smallholder farmers (Kumar and Nair,
2004). To this effect homegarden agroforestry has been considered as one
of the best land use option (Kumar, 2006; Akinnifesi
et al., 2010) that helped smallholder farmers to support their family
(Kalaba et al., 2009).
These homegardens are evolved either through growing food crops in the forests
or establishing tree crop production systems on arable lands (Kumar,
2006). Moreover, the homegarden agroforestry systems reflect the wisdom
of the traditional culture and ecological knowledge of the local community (Kumar
and Nair, 2004; Tangjang and Arunachalam, 2009).
Smallholder farmers in southwestern Ethiopia have an experience of homegarden
agroforestry for ages (Bishaw, 2009; Abebe
et al., 2010). However, empirical study on homegarden agroforestry
practices around Jimma is insufficient. As a result, less attention has been
given to homegarden development towards addressing household food security.
This study tries to examine homegarden agroforestry practices and evaluate their
significance towards household food security strategy.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The study site description: The study was conducted at 14 km from Jimma town. Jimma town is found at 352 km from Addis Ababa in southwestern Ethiopia. The study site is located between 36°00' and 37°00'N of latitude and 7°00' and 8°00'E of longitude. The area receives annual rainfall between 1200 and 2800 mm. The temperature ranges between 11.8 and 28.8°C. The altitude of the area is about 2000 m.a.s.l. The total population of the area is about 5440. The total household number of the area is about 888. The study area has the highest populated density in Jimma zone. Agriculture is the means of the livelihood of the people. Most agricultural producers are subsistence farmers with smallholding. Coffee is the most important cash crop in the area. Maize, teff, sorghum, pulses and root crops are the major crops grown in the area. Perennial crops dominate the homegarden in the area.
Methods: The research was carried out between March-July 2010. A combination of complete plant inventory and interview were used to collect data. Complete plant inventory was done to document plants in homegarden.
Information on household characteristics, purpose of homegarden practices and annual income from homegarden were collected through household interview. Semi structured and structured type of questionnaire was used for the interview. The total number of the households in the study area was 888. From which 98 (11%) homegardens were randomly selected for the study. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and paired t-testing. Assumption of normality was checked before running paired t-test. SPSS version 16 was employed for data analysis.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Household characteristics: The study result showed that the mean family
size of the sampled household was 6. Household that belongs to poor and medium
household categories outnumbered the rich household category by 93%. The landholding
size of the sampled households ranged from 0.1-7 ha with mean 1.09 ha. About
62% of the households owned a land <1.09 ha. Household land use categories
were identified as homegarden, coffee farm, cultivated land and eucalyptus woodlot.
About 45% of the households owned homegarden, coffee farm, cultivated land and
eucalyptus woodlot. About 94% of the households owned homegarden, coffee farm
and cultivated land. The size of homegarden ranged from 0.01-1 ha with mean
0.15 ha. About 73% of the homegardens sizes were <0.15 ha (Table
|| Summary of household characteristics
|| Partial view of homegarden at study site
Das and Das (2005) reported homegarden size that ranged
from 0.02-1.2 ha with an average 0.3 ha from Barak valley, India. Kabir
and Webb (2009) also reported the land with 0.27 ha used for homestead from
southwestern Bangladesh. Tynsong and Tiwari (2010) reported
0.075 ha as average size of homegarden from Meghalaya, India.
Characterization of homegarden: Homegarden in the study area was found
quite distinct from other land uses. Homegarden at glance was dominated by Enset
ventricosum (Fig. 1). However, the closer the homegarden,
the more number of species were seen in the homegarden. Origin and development
of homegarden in the study area was found having similar pattern of development
and purposes. From 98 selected homegardens, 99% were established on open areas
(cultivated land and grazing land). The intention of the homegarden development
was to get more cash and food to support the family.
|| Categories of homegarden development and their current uses
Development of these homegardens was started 35 years ago. About 52% of the
assessed homegardens were developed before 20 years ago. Majority of households
(61.2%) mentioned homegarden as source of both cash and food (Table
2). This study agrees with Kumar (2006) report that
homegardens are evolved through establishing tree crop production systems on
arable lands. Homegardens are described based on their structure, composition
Arrangements of the components are deliberate in most homegardens (Mendez
et al., 2001). However, investigation on arrangements of the components
in the homegarden was found haphazard. There was no specific niche for specific
crop was found in the homegarden. As a result, it is difficult to relate component
arrangement in the homegarden to practical knowledge of farmers on specific
requirement of crops in the homegarden. This is partly explained farmers need
more time in accumulating practical knowledge as most of the cultivated crops
in the homegarden are exotic species. Table 3 shows the result
of plant assessment in 98 homegarden. Complete plant inventory results showed
totaling 23 different cultivated crops were identified in homegarden.
The most cultivated crops in the homegarden were Enset ventricosum, avocado, cabbage, maize, coffee, Catha edulis and banana. Enset ventricosum, avocado, cabbage, maize, coffee, Catha edulis and banana were found in 98, 92, 84, 80, 78, 76 and 54% of assessed homegarden, respectively. Usually, these crops were cultivated in the homegarden for consumption and sale. However, the purpose of cultivating specific crop was quite different among households. Majority of the households were cultivating avocado (56.7%) and Catha edulis (63.5%) in the homegarden for sale. Coffee (58.7%) and vegetables were cultivated in the homegarden for consumption.
In Sidama southern Ethiopia coffee was cultivated in homegarden for cash (Abebe
et al., 2010). However, farmers around Jimma had coffee farm for
cash and usually coffee cultivated at homegarden was used for consumption.
||Plant inventoried, frequency distribution and their purpose
||Number of plants species recorded per homegarden and their
Within homegarden the number of species per homegarden ranged from 4-13 where
the mean was 8. About 7 species per homegarden were recorded in most assessed
homegardens. About 4 species per homegarden and 13 species per homegarden were
not common in most homegardens (Table 4). Previous research
on number of species in homegarden varied considerably. For examples, Kabir
and Webb (2009) reported 419 species of plants with an average of 34 species
per household across 402 homegardens from Bangladesh.
Mendez et al. (2001) reported a total of 324
species with nine different uses from Nicaragua. Tynsong
and Tiwari (2010) reported 197 plants species with an average of 89 plant
species per homegarden from North-East India on homegarden 750 m2.
Abebe et al. (2010) reported 78 cultivated crops
within 44 homegardens from Sidama southern Ethiopia with 16 as an average number
of species per farm.
|| Cultivated crops in homegarden viz. monthly products distribution
Olajide-Taiwo et al. (2010) reported 36 planted
species in homegarden from Ibdan, Oyo state. Maroyi (2009)
reported 69 plant species with 9 different uses from Nhema, Zimbabwe. The total
number of species and average number of species per homegarden in the present
study was less compared to the previous report. The assessment result shared
the same opinion with Abebe et al. (2010) regarding
the occurrence of Enset ventricosum in all homegardens.
Olajide-Taiwo et al. (2010) also reported different
cultivated crops ranging from fruit trees, vegatbles, spices and food crops
in homegarden from Ibadan, Oyo state.
Homegarden to household food security: Assessment of food security status
of the household result showed that 88.8% of the household were found food secured
throughout the year. Nevertheless, for 84.5% of the households (n = 98), the
production they produced was sufficient only for 10 months to feed their family.
Household food security strategy analysis result showed that smallholder farmers
in the study area attained food security through own production and purchasing
from local market. In this regard, smallholder farmers in the study area highly
appreciated the significance of their homegarden towards attaining food security.
About 96.9% of the households said the impact of homegarden on improving their
livelihood was high. Table 5 shows the benefit of homegarden
throughout the year. Some of the cultivated crops in the homegarden like
Enset ventricosu, cabbage and pulses were critical in July and August in
filling shortage of food at household level. Cash obtained from avocado and
Catha edulis was found to help household to purchase grain from local
market. The study result also showed that there was at least one obtainable
product from homegarden throughout the year. The finding agrees with Ndaeyo
(2007) report that homestead ensured continuous production and utilization
throughout the year. The report strongly indicated that homestead farms are
contributing to food security in southern Nigeria. Olajide-Taiwo
et al. (2010) also reported homegarden as an easy source of fresh
food. The relative household income contribution of homegarden was about 44.5%
(maximum = 14735, mean = 1683.17) of the total household income. Catha edulis
and avocado accounted for about 72.6% of the homegarden income contribution.
About 34.7% of the total households had an income from homegarden >1683.17
Ethiopian birr (Table 6).
Although, household needed more food crops for consumption, maize was the most staple food crops in the study area. On the average 1000 kg year-1 was calculated as the total quantity of grain required to support an average family size of 6. Considering the price of maize at the time of assessment, the average income (1683.17 Ethiopian birr) from homegarden enabled households to purchase 935 kg of maize. Income from homegarden increased an average household income from 2100-3784.11 Ethiopian Birr. A paired t-testing result showed that the difference in average annual income of household due to homegarden was significant (t = 8.119, df = 97, p = 0.000).
|| Household relative income from homegarden, contributor crops
and household category
|*ETB = Ethiopian Birr
The present study agrees with many previous researches finding on significance
of homegarden to household food security. For examples, Olajide-Taiwo
et al. (2010) report from Ibadan, Oyo state showed that homegarding
increased family supply. Maroyi (2009) report from Nhema,
Zimbabwe indicated homegarden as important for poor households to overcome adversity
and meet basic needs. Tynsong and Tiwari (2010) finding
from Meghalaya, India showed that homegarden contributed 7% of the total household
Ndaeyo (2007) report from southeastern Nigeria showed
the remarkable contribution of homestead farm to food security. Bassullu and
Tolunay reported 34.5% as the share of the income obtained from traditional
homegardens in the rural areas of Isparta regions within the annual income.
The present finding of the share of income from homegarden 44.5% within the
range of 6.6-55.7% reported by Soemarwoto (1987) as the
share of the income obtained from homegardens in total income.
The present study is the first attempt to conduct study on homegarden in the study area. The foregoing discussions revealed that homegarden of the study area were practiced in response to food security. The contribution of homegarden goes beyond gap filling. Economic important crops dominated the homegarden. Some households were getting much benefit from their homegardens. Paying due attention to homegarden development has significant role in addressing household food security in the future.
The researcher would like to thank the local community for allowing us to enter their homegarden and also sharing us their precious time for interview. His heartfelt gratitude goes to all who directly or indirectly contributed to realizing the study research.