Assessment of common bean cultivar diversity in selected communities of Central Uganda.
Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) diversity has been nurtured by Uganda’s farming communities and inreturn it has sustained their livelihoods for over 40 decades. Despite the farmers’ invaluable effort in perpetuatingthis diversity, there is limited overall understanding of its status and dynamics on-farm. This study assessed theamount and status of the cultivar diversity in selected rural and peri-urban communities of central Uganda. Datawere purposefully collected from 120 households through household surveys, focus group discussions and directfield observations. Diversity measures, status of the cultivars and morphological distinctiveness were estimatedby Simpson’s index of diversity (1-D), four cell analysis and cluster analysis, respectively. A total of 24 cultivarswere observed in the whole study, and both communities had equal cultivar richness.There were no significantdifferences in the number of cultivars maintained by the farmers in the rural and those in the peri-urban communities.Both communities had substantial cultivar evenness (0.81 and 0.82 in rural and peri-urban, respectively), althoughonly 19% of cultivars were grown on relatively larger areas and by many households. Impressively, at least 30%of the households in each community nurtured different sets of cultivars. We thus recommend the need to put inplace incentive mechanisms that can encourage a section of the community to continue conserving P. vulgarisdiversity on-farm to ensure its continued evolution and adaptation to changing biotic and abiotic factors.
Key Words: Distinctiveness, Phaseolus vulgaris, Simpson’s index