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Learning From Wasukuma Ethnopedology: An Indigenous Well-Established System For Transfer Of Agro-Technology In Tanzania

JA Ngailo
S Nortcliff


This study was initiated by the fact that the language of the largest ethnic group in Tanzania – called Wasukuma, contains a very rich nomenclature which generally describes soils and their properties in relation to management and productivity. (54) randomly selected farmers from three different villages (namely Shishiyu, Mwanhegele and Bukangilija) participated in the study. A questionnaire was designed for the purpose of interviewing farmers. Farmers provided information on major local soils they could identify and describe. According to farmers, transient and permanent characteristics that influence the plough layer were most discriminating. These soil surface characteristics include colour,
texture and workability as related to consistence. Another characteristic that farmers used
to differentiate soils was the ability of a particular soil to support growth of certain crops.
This study underscores the fact that local knowledge can be fully exploited in resourceassessment studies.

Keywords: Indigenous knowledge, local soil classification, local soil nomenclature.

Indilinga Vol. 6 (1) 2007 pp. 64-75