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Trees as an integral part of coffee systems to cope with coffee wilt disease: the case of smallholders in Mukono District, Uganda

Sibelet N.. 2009. In : Agroforestry, the future of global land use: Book of abstracts. Nairobi : WCA [Nairobi], p. 574-574. World Congress of Agroforestry. 2, 2009-08-23/2009-08-28, Nairobi (Kenya).

For more than 50 years, coffee has been the dominant commodity in Uganda's economy and the main cash crop for farmers. This sector employs more than 2.5 million smallholders. However coffee wilt disease (CWD) has become the major setback to coffee production. It has destroyed around 50% of Robusta coffee trees and almost 90% of Ugandan farms are affected. Today, waiting for resistant coffee materials, farmers don't have any means of controlling the disease. This research aimed to determine the role of trees in farmers' strategies to maintain their incomes in the face of the CWD crisis. This survey was carried out in 2008, in Mukono District, the first coffee area of the country. Fifty semi-structured interviews of farmers, discussion with farmer groups, local experts, and key informants involved with the coffee sector were conducted. Coffee always grows under shade trees and is intercropped mostly with banana plants and other food crops. Agroforestry has been part of the farming system for at least three generations of respondents in Uganda. The various trees are important to farmers for their services, products and functions. Some, such as Ficus, Albizzia and fruit trees, are voluntarily planted by farmers to get shade, fuelwood and fruit. Others, such as as Markhamia lutea and Meopsis eminiis grow naturally in their gardens. In response to CWD, farmers have diversified their crops, and they still maintain their shade trees in the hope to replant new coffee trees. Currently, no other crop's revenue can compare with coffee. Thus, farmers are replanting coffee seedlings even if these trees are vulnerable to CWD. Farmers maintain trees within their farm even if they are not considered to be a valuable source of cash. This study showed a close link between trees and coffee; agroforestry systems give resilience during a crisis period. (Texte intégral)

Mots-clés : coffea; flétrissement; ouganda

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