Kachwekano Zardi
The South Western Highland Agro-Ecological Zone was erstwhile known as the Kigezi sub-region. The zone consists of five districts: Kabale, Kanungu, Kisoro, Rubanda. Located in southwestern Uganda, the zone lies between altitudes of 1,262 to 3,883 meters above sea level. The rainfall pattern is bimodal and ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 mm per annum. The temperatures are moderate with mean minimum of 13°C and mean maximum of 23°C (Bamwerinde et al., 2006). The combined population of the zone is 1,331,000 of which 636,967 (48%) are males and 694,233 (52%) are females (UBOS, 2013). The population growth rate is estimated at 2.2% per annum (Bamwerinde et al., 2006). The zone contributes about 3.9% of the total national population with a high population density of about 300 persons per km2 on average, far above the national population density of 181.1 persons per km2 (UBOS, 2013).
The soil types vary from district to district, for example Kabale and Rubanda districts are characterized by Oxilsols, Utisols and Inceptsols (Clausen, 2001; Nkonya, 2006), while Kisoro District is characterized by ferratic soils (NEMA, 2008). Kanungu and Rukungiri districts have grayish sandy loam and sandy clay soils, respectively (Kanungu District Local Government Statistical Report, 2012/ 2013; Rukungiri District, 2009). The vegetation includes the Tropical High Forests, woodlands, plantation hardwoods and softwoods, bushland and grassland (UBOS, 2013). The zone is considered to be of high agricultural potential with major commodities being Robusta coffee, maize, beans, sorghum, sweet potatoes, banana, finger millet, Irish potatoes, tea, diary and fishing.
The zone is also endowed with several magnificent natural resources including mountains e.g. Mt. Muhavura in Kisoro which is a tourist attraction site; forest reserves e.g. Echuya where indigenous people (the Batwa) live, Mgahinga and Bwindi with Gorillas which is one of the main tourist attractions in Uganda. Furthermore, Queen Elizabeth National Park is renowned for the climbing lions, especially in the Ishasha plains.
The zone has many small rivers and streams like Ishasha, Nchwera, Kiruruma Birara, Kimbugu in Nyarushanje; Lakes e.g.  Lake Edward, L. Garubunda in Kebisoni and Lake Bunyonyi the deepest crater lake in Uganda. The Zone is endowed with a number of wetlands both seasonal and permanent, which serve as water reservoirs and offer other ecological functions.
The zone faces challenges like steep slopes, rampant soil erosion, soil nutrient depletion, high population and improper farming methods. Opportunities include hard working and self-motivated people, solidarity, respect for traditional leaders (Ngozi), among others. Sustainable Land Management (SLM) interventions in the zone include: terraces, contour bunds, grass bunds, agroforestry, rehabilitation of degraded watersheds, woodlots, good agronomic practices, conservation agriculture, water harvesting and small scale irrigation schemes.
The zone collaborates with the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) through its Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institutes (ZARDIs), Districts Local Governments (e.g. the District Adaptive Research Support Teams -DARST), NAADS, OWC, FAO–Kagera TAMP, Sub-Saharan African Challenge Program (SSACP), Africa 2000 Network, Excel Hort, Bakiga Community, IFDC, and Church of Uganda. Strategies for scaling up the SLM interventions include providing the local communities with knowledge in tree nursery operation and management for the sustainable supply of tree seedlings and other stabilizing materials; making SACCOs to save money for buying improved seeds, farm implements, inputs and improved animals for zero grazing. Other strategies include training districts and sub-county agricultural officers in SLM technologies to increase the adoption of SLM technologies by communities for increased productivity as well as coping with the impacts of climate change.

Contact persons:
•    Dr. Vettes Kalema SLM Specialist Kachwekano Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (KaZARDI)
•    Director of Research, KaZARDI.

Useful Links

Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries (MAAIF)
National Agricultural Research Organisation
Mukono Zonal Agricultural Research & Dev't Institute

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National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL)
13 Km, Along Bombo Rd, Opp Kawanda Sec Sch
Mobile: 0781-413478/ 0774-465941
Email: drakenmubiru@yahoo.com (NARO SLM-Coordinator)

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