Effects of land use practices on livelihoods in the transboundary sub - catchments of the Lake Victoria Basin
Obando, Makalle, Joy
Albinus, M. P.
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The Lake Victoria Basin (LVB) is experiencing changes in land use due to both anthropogenic and natural drivers which are critical to the sustainability of the resources and livelihoods of the communities. Indeed the resultant land use practices and decisions made by the communities on the use of the land rely on the changes in the basin. This paper presents an analysis of the land use practices in the Lake Victoria Basin using two sub-catchments of Mara River (Tanzania) and Sio River (Kenya-Uganda) as case studies. Collection of mainly socio-economic and environmental data involved in-depth interviews of 679 respondents from the midstream and downstream zones of the sub-catchments. The findings reveal conspicuous changes in community livelihoods as a result of expansion of cultivation, overgrazing on the river banks, increased use of wetlands areas, the disappearance and extreme fragmentation of forest, bush land and appearance and the diminishing of settlements. The hitherto common resources have become scarce forcing farmers to try intensifying and diversifying their farm production with little success due to poor traditional farming practices. Although local initiatives are leading to change, there is need for integrated approaches of indigenous knowledge, technical agricultural research, economic analysis, and policy studies and reforms.