The new paradigm that emerged in the 1980s regarding rural development was based partially on the belief that land users ought to be more involved in research and development. In the hilly terrain of Kabale District, southwestern Uganda, a wide range of indigenous soil and water conservation (ISWC) practices have been uncovered, both on the hillsides and in the valleys. A partnership between farmers, researchers, and extensionists has validated the effectiveness of two local ISWC methods. Best practice and improvements have been identified, and constraints to ISWC have been highlighted. It has been shown that, on its own, ISWC cannot sustain soil fertility in the long term. Farmers have taken part in study visits outside the field area and this has encouraged the testing and adoption of further land husbandry ideas. A series of methodological steps for such research, development, and dissemination processes has been refined. There is a new focus within the current project phase on the dynamic of farmer innovators. Whatever achievements are made within the spatial and temporal confines of a project, a sustained process can be realized only if the approach is institutionalized.
Critchley, W. Harnessing traditional knowledge for better land husbandry in Kabale District, Uganda. Mountain Research and Development (1999) 19 (3) 261-272.