Evaluating the Potential Contribution of Non-timber Forest Products (NTFPs) to Smallholder Farmers in Semi-arid and Arid Regions: A case of Chivi, Zimbabwe

Peter Kupurai (Department of Agriculture Management, Zimbabwe Open University, Masvingo Region, Zimbabwe)
Andrew Tapiwa Kugedera (Department of Agriculture Management, Zimbabwe Open University, Masvingo Region, Zimbabwe)
Nyasha Sakadzo (Department of Agricultural Economics and Development, Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences, P.Bag 7001, Mutare)

Abstract


Food insecurity in most dry regions in Zimbabwe has taught many people a lesson of using non timber forest products (NTFPs) to reduce food insecurity and improve livelihoods as well as poverty alleviation. The aim of the study was to evaluate the potential contribution of non-timber forest products to smallholder farmers in arid and semi-arid regions. The research was carried out as a survey and data was collected using interviews, questionnaires and focus group discussion. Data was analysed for descriptive statistics using IBM SPSS version 25. Results indicated that 64 % were females and 36 % were males with the majority of participants being married (57.6 %) with only 8.8 % being widowed. Results show that all respondents (100%) indicated that they obtain fruits from the forests as a major source of food during winter and rain season. Vegetables (84.2 %), thatching grass (80.8%) and edible worms (62.5 %) were also major non-timber forest products obtained from the forests by participants. All participants (100%) indicated that income generation, firewood and source of heat for brick moulding were major benefits they obtain from forest with vegetables (74.2 %), brooms (91.7 %) and improved nutrition (85.0 %) being regarded as other important benefits enjoyed by local people from forests. Afforestation and reforestation were regarded as major sustainable forest management practices by all (100%) participants with agroforestry being indicated by only 12.5 % since people had no knowledge about it. NTFPs has capacity of improving food security, human livelihoods and alleviate poverty. People are encouraged to harvest NTFPs sustainably to allow future use. Use of agroforestry can be a best way for managing forests sustainably, improve food security, crop yield, poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation.


Keywords


Evaluating; Contribution; Non-timber; Forest Products; Smallholder; Semi-arid

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30564/re.v3i1.2874

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