Pathways to sustainable intensification of the coffee-banana agroecosystems in the Mt. Elgon region

Despite the importance of coffee and banana as key income and food sources for millions of farmers inhabiting the densely populated East African highlands as well as and urban dwellers, there are declining yields. One of the causes for this decline is increased soil degradation that has led to recent conversions of more forest land into crop land in marginal and sensitive mountain ecosystems. However, evidence shows that only a few households manage the desired shift to sustainable production systems, mainly due to social, economic and environmental constraints. In this study we therefore, set out to find out typologies of coffee-banana farms based on intensification levels and pathways taken using a number of agricultural intensification surrogate indicators. We also sought to find the driving factors and barriers for intensification. Using Principal Component, cluster and Pearson correlation analyses, and later both a Generalised Linear and Multinomial Logit models, results revealed four distinct intensification pathways, one of which is a high-inputhigh- output conventional pathway and the other three were low-to-medium input agroecological pathways. Adoption of an intensification pathway could be impeded by geographical location, wealth status in form of livestock, land and lack of credit access. We found the hypothesis that resource-rich farmers intensify by capital investments, while the resource-constrained farmers intensify through labour true for the conventional and agroecological intensification pathways respectively. The existence of intermediary pathways under the agroecological classification creates opportunities for interventions that target to increase yields while reducing degradation and negative environmental impacts of agriculture.
Intensification, Coffee, Banana, Principal component analysis, Generalized linear model, Uganda
Christopher Sebatta, Johnny Mugisha, Fredrick Bagamba, Ernst A. Nuppenau, Stephanie E. Domptail, Benjamin Kowalski, Matthias Hoeher, Anthony R. Ijala & Jeninah Karungi | (2019) Pathways to sustainable intensification of the coffee-banana agroecosystems in the Mt. Elgon region, Cogent Food & Agriculture, 5:1, 1611051, DOI: 10.1080/23311932.2019.1611051