Agroforestry Technologies Adopted by Smallholder Farmers In Southern Province of Rwanda
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Agroforestry is an agricultural system that deliberately integrates trees, crops and animals on the same land and under the same management. Agroforestry practices have the ability to counter the increasing food insecurity and offers several outputs (e.g. enhanced crop production, money and job opportunities) to smallholder farmers hence the improvement of rural living standards. This paper focuses on the agroforestry practices adopted by smallholder farmers, challenge faced and the benefits derived from the agroforestry practices. This study was carried out in four districts in the Southern Province of Rwanda. A descriptive survey design was used in this study. The study adopted a stratified random sampling technique for questionnaire distribution. Descriptive methods of analysis were used to identify the different agroforestry technologies adopted by smallholder farmers in Rwanda. This study illustrated the different agroforestry practices adopted by farmers. The results revealed that most farmers in the Southern Province adopted boundary planting agroforestry followed by homegardens, alley cropping and scattered trees on farm. Most adopters (68%) of agroforestry planted trees around their farms. The farmers maintained that these trees are retained to provide various uses (e.g. fuel wood, staking material, constructional materials, grazing, climate regulation, soil erosion, control of wed and pest, reduction of crop failure, improving soil fertility, nutrient recycling and nitrogen fixation). Input and productivity were the common challenges faced by the farmers who adopted agroforestry practices. Most of the respondents were able to access the necessary information on the importance of agroforestry, attained knowledge for planting trees (especially in spacing and management skills) and knowledge about various species of trees and management skills. The government of Rwanda and other stakeholders should promote tree farming in the area so as to prevent deforestation and land degradation in search of firewood and timber from the community and government forests.