UNIVERSITY OF TURKU Department of Geography, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences MAKANDI, HARUN: Mapping Cropland Preferences of the

Village Communities in Unguja, Zanzibar Master’s graduate thesis, 109p., 9 appendix pages Geography March 2008

This study investigates the preferences of the farming communities of Dole and Kiwengwa in Unguja of their lands for crop production. Studying preferences is one approach to assessing the performance of land for designated activity. The study utilises interviews with participatory mapping, direct observation, remote sensing, and GIS methods. The findings are evaluated within the theoretical framework of evolutionary perspectives and local factors for cropland preferences. The methodological basis is evaluated using the framework of dimensions of mapping. At a technical level, the strengths and weaknesses of key combined techniques of study are examined and suggestions for their improvement made. Results show crop cultivation is the primary activity for most of adult members of village communities in the study villages. Crop cultivation practices and the communities’ common background create and shape criteria for evaluating land for crop cultivation. Five criteria influence the community evaluation of land for crop cultivation. One is the constraints, which constitute all land uses but community crop cultivation. These include public agriculture under government institutions. The other four are the factors. These are soil suitability, distance to farms, land tenure insecurity, and animal pests. Soil promotes cropland preferences: the preference for a cropland increases with greater soil suitability. The rest detract the preference with their increasing magnitude. There is variation of magnitude of the factors within the croplands. The influence of the factors varies among the factors themselves and between the study villages. Soil suitability and distance to farms stand out as the most influential in the community evaluation of the present-day croplands and the location of alternative croplands. The influence of tenure insecurity and animal pests is limited to cropping practices, including the change of cropping patterns in the long term. The acreage of the optimal present-day croplands, which feature most suitable soil and least of the detracting factors, is limited. Only a few of these croplands in the study villages can be farmed efficiently using rudimentary farming practices. They are used intensively. The other croplands are also useful to farmers, but require adaptive measures such as usage of nonmotorised means of transport and planting crops less susceptible to animal pests. In choosing alternative land uses, communities consider crop cultivation an important activity. Their choice of location of alternative croplands is not haphazard. It is influenced by soil suitability. In Kiwengwa, distance plays part as well. There is a gender dimension in the preferences for croplands and prioritisation of land uses. Women prefer food crop cultivation and other activities which meet domestic needs more than men do. Basing on the findings and conclusions, recommendations given in this study are directed to increasing the performance of croplands to fulfil agricultural needs of the communities.

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