Implications of fuel wood scarcity on livelihoods of rural communities of Nyarubuye Sub-County in Kisoro District, south western Uganda
Fuelwood scarcity is evident in south western Uganda, where households are using sorghum and maize stalks for cooking as alternatives to the traditional fuelwood. The aim of the study was to assess the implications of fuelwood scarcity on livelihoods of rural communities in Nyarubuye sub-county in Kisoro district in south western Uganda. Systematic random sampling techniques were used to select participating households for the study. Data were collected using direct observation and interviews, using a structured questionnaire that was administered to 80 households in Busengo and Karambi parishes. Face to face interviews were held with key informants, using a checklist. The study showed that the main drivers of fuelwood scarcity in Nyarubuye Sub-county include: land shortage, rapid increase in population, change of land use from communal forested land to crop growing only, lack of integration of trees on farm, inefficient methods of cooking and brick burning. The study also showed that the implications of fuelwood scarcity on livelihoods in the study area were adverse and greatly affected women, as compared to men. They included sickening of eyes, breathing difficulties, snake bites and body dislocations, increased domestic violence (wife beating) and sexual abuse (rape), school attendance inconsistencies for school going children, loss of tree cover and low crop yields. Suggested strategies to reduce fuelwood scarcity in area include: promotion of on farm tree planting activities (agroforestry) and energy saving technologies, availing alternative energy sources such as electricity, enhancing family planning methods, skilling of communities on income generation enterprises especially girls. A byelaw on school children with emphasis on girls to collect firewood during weekends only should be formulated and enforced.
Keywords: Firewood, maize stover, tree cover
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