Local knowledge, identification and selection of shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) ethnovarieties for pre-breeding in Uganda
Odoi, Juventine Boaz
Akias Okia, Clement
Odong, Thomas L.
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Local knowledge is important in characterizing and selecting shea tree ethnovarieties since the local communities have lived with the species for quite so long. The communities have developed their classification methods based on specific phenotypic traits used to distinguish one ethnovariety from another. This has helped them select and conserve specific genotypes of their interest on farm. Variants of shea trees exist in different populations known by the local communities. This study aimed at identifying and selecting high oil yielding shea tree “ethnovarieties” in Katakwi; Otuke; Amuru; Moyo; Arua and Nakasongola districts of Uganda using local knowledge. The districts were selected because of their long historical association with shea trees which has become part of their socio-cultural and economic lifestyle, so they have broad local knowledge about shea tree variations within their areas. The study aimed at identifying and selecting superior individual shea tree ethnovarieties with high oil yield using local knowledge for seed collection to raise a half sib population. Data was collected in the months of November and December 2017 from 246 shea tree farmers through interviews, 8 focus group discussions conducted, and 6 Key informer interviews with opinion leaders, civic leaders and local leaders in the districts. List of fifteen shea butter tree ethnovarieties with their descriptive characteristics was generated per district. 53.4% of the people who were interviewed were women and 46.4% were men. Data analysis using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 20v) was run using multivariate analysis and multiple regression analysis to test for any differences in local knowledge of shea tree ethnovarietis. Differences in local knowledge in the research districts was moderately significant with P = 0.043, df = 4 and X2 =9.837.