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Title: Room to grow : local knowledge, land use and legumes in the farming systems in northern Namibia
Author: Hillyer, Anne Elizabeth Margaret.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3578 6777
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2004
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The complex and diverse nature of African contexts requires local solutions derived with local farmers. The challenge is to find approaches that strengthen farmers' capacity to adapt their systems sustainably. This research, about the role of legumes in the farming systems of northern Namibia, suggests an approach for improving the interface between farmers, agricultural extension officers and researchers for generating and adapting legume technologies for soil fertifity management. Objectives include: an exploration of biophysical and socio-economic contexts of the production environment to appreciate their affects on legume production and productivity; an investigation of farmers' livelihood objectives, choices, management practices and outputs and the bearing these have on their use of legumes; an assessment of local and scientific knowledge relating to farming the northern Namibian environment; an evaluation of future legume prospects in northern Namibia. Research methods include participatory mapping using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), rapid rural appraisal and conventional agronomic techniques. The Sustainable Livelihoods framework is used to analyse the effect of natural and human capital assets on the role of legumes. A framework of local knowledge allows spatial analysis to distinguish the impact of land diversity on farming choices for different socio-economic groups. Results identify the diversity of the biophysical and socio-economic environment of northern Namibia. The local knowledge framework distinguishes a number of land units facilitating an exploration of farmers' rationale with respect to crop choices, management practices and perceptions generally. Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), planted by the majority, is the most important legume food crop. Wealthy farmers have larger and more diverse land plots, labour and seed assets than do poorer households. They are likely to grow a larger variety and quantity of grain legumes than poor farmers. Legume technology for soil fertility management is not known and local notions of fertility differ to those of formal science.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available