Exploration of rainfed rice farming in Uganda based on a nationwide survey: Evolution, regionality, farmers and land
Okello, Stella E.
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Based on a nationwide survey of rice growing households, this paper explores how rainfed rice cultivation evolved in Uganda, how diverse it is in different regions of the country, what categories of farmers have adopted it, and how it has been integrated into their traditional cropping patterns. We find that the diffusion of rainfed rice cultivation accelerated at around the turn of this century when upland New Rice for Africa (NERICA) was introduced in the agro-ecological zones receiving annual rainfall of 1000 mm or more. The growth rate of area under rainfed rice cultivation from 2000 to 2009 was 14% year-1 in the lowest zone and as high as 31% year-1 in the highest zone. Rice was grown predominantly by smallholders. Farmers growing rainfed rice, upland and lowland alike, cultivated on average 2 ha of farm land, of which one-third (0.6 ha) was planted to rice, and the sizes of cultivated area and rice planted area of around 70% of farmers were below these averages. In terms of land tenure systems, rice was a crop of more importance in areas where the traditional customary tenure systems still remained, and the incidence of leasehold land tenure was higher for rice cultivation than for other crops.