Indigenous knowledge and its relevance for agriculture: a case study in Uganda

  • Tim Hart Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Johann Mouton Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7602, South Africa


In recent decades an increased awareness has arisen of the failure of conventional agricultural practices to be effectively and equitably applied to the different types of zones in which agriculture is practised. This has resulted in greater attention being paid to local or indigenous knowledge. The present study examines the indigenous knowledge relating to the cultivation and use of traditional vegetables in a rural parish in Uganda, using a participatory research method, Rapid Rural Appraisal. The results of the study illustrate the importance of understanding indigenous knowledge for future agricultural research and extension activities. The results indicate a number of important issues regarding our understanding of indigenous knowledge, namely: it often contrasts with conventional agricultural practices, being influenced by its purposes and the resources to which it has access; not all the residents of a particular area have access to all the knowledge about a topic; it is more than technical knowledge, and there are differences and similarities in indigenous knowledge in different areas. To place some of the results in a broader context, a comparison was made with a similar study done in other African countries. The article concludes that greater understanding of the utilisation of appropriate indigenous knowledge would improve the success of future agricultural interventions.

Indilinga: African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IAJIKS) Vol. 4(1) 2005: 249-263

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1683-0296