Determinants of Soil Water Conservation and Nutrient Flow Management in Bufundi Sub-Catchment.Kabale District,Uganda
Soilerosion and declining soil productivity still continue to manifest in most of the agricultural systemsfound in Sub-Sahara Africa and this has threatened the agricultural productivity, biodiversity,water quality and availability as well as the livelihoods of the poor who depend on land.In Uganda, this has been attributed to poor land use practices with inadequate SWC measuresand persistent nutrient mining of the soils with little or no replenishment. Highland areasofKabale are reported to be severely affected by soil erosion and declining soil fertility despitecontinued efforts by farmers to conserve soil and water resources. The study examined thedeterminants for SWC and nutrient flow management in Bufundi sub-catchment. The study waspremised on analyzing physical, institutional and social economic factors as they were perceivedto stronglyinfluence'SwC and nutrient flows within the different farm slope positions ofBufundi sub-catchment. Ni~ety five (9S) structured questionnaires, key informant interviews andtransects were conducted in the month of January 2011. Also 30 soil samples were collected fromagricultural fields on the predominant SWC measures (terrace benches) in addition to nutrientmonitoring using the NUTMON questionnaires, transfer functions and a NUTMON monitoringguide. Data analysis was done using SPSS 17.0, E-view 3.0 and NUTMON 3.6 softwarefor the different types of data. The results of the survey show that family size, age, land , . tenure,perception of soil erosion, sources of income, formation of Innovation Platforms (IPs), farmsize, collective marketing under IP, slope, collective action and training in SWC are among themajor factors that positively and significantly influence adoption and use of soil and water conservationmeasures. Education, sex, off-farm activities, visits by extension agent, showed no significantinfluence on adoption and use of soil and water conservation measures. Soil data in thepredominant SWC measures (terrace benches) revealed that: pH, organic matter, and nitrogen werebelow the critical values on all the"t~rrace farms. It was revealed that organic manure (IN2) wassignificant at (p<O.OS)between farms ~nd,~qntributed between 44%, 78% and 62% of the totalfarm inflows for N, P and K, respectivel):'. The major avenues for nutrient inflows and lossesare organic manures (IN2), biological nitrogen fixation (IN4), crop residue (OUT2a), crop productsharvested (OUTl) and soil erosion (OUTS) whilst no mineral fertilizer use (INl). It is recommendedthat effective bench terrace management coupled with integrated soil fertility managementand SWC awareness should be a priority in addition to forward-backward linkages inorder to contribute more favorable balances in the predominant SWC measures. More efforts shouldtarget, social, physical, financial and human capitals on bench terrace management in additionto use of complimentary sources of soil nutrients besides the organic manure.