n Southern African Forestry Journal - Farmers' tree planting and access to germplasm in the southern highlands of Tanzania

Volume 2001, Issue 191
  • ISSN : 0038-2167



This article examines the effects of insufficient availability of planting material on farmers' tree planting in the southern highlands of Tanzania. Patterns in scale of farmers' tree planting, species preferences, and experienced availability of planting material are investigated and compared with past sources of germplasm and with existing local nursery capacity. Different aspects of insufficient access to germplasm and possibilities for improving the germplasm supply situation are discussed. The study is based on interviews in 38 villages of 356 farmers and 161 key-informants and visits to nine nurseries. Most farmers in the southern highlands of Tanzania plant significant numbers of trees and tree planting is an integral part of farming systems. Main purposes of tree planting are fuelwood, timber in a broad sense, and fruit production. People want to plant well-known species, which in most cases are exotics, and many species, popular among professionals, e.g. indigenous and multipurpose trees, are not requested by farmers. Lack of planting material is the main constraint to tree planting, and although small private or village-based nurseries are now being established, they are still few and capacities are far below demands. Nurseries mainly raise species with seed locally available, and many species, preferred by farmers, especially fruit trees, are not produced. Currently, most nursery owners are not able or willing to pay for seed. An improved supply of seedlings and seed must be economically sustainable at local level and there is a need for widespread promotion of low-tech, low-input nursery production and an improved seed supply based on local seed sources.

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