Implementation of Plan Vivo in the Kagera region, Tanzania
The use of Plan Vivo projects to mitigate greenhouse gases emissions is a relatively new phenomenon. It originates in the UNs concern with climate change, which led to the construction of the Kyoto protocol. Several studies have been conducted on how to reduce CO2 emissions at the global scale, but few studies have focused on ways to successfully implement Plan Vivo projects on a local level. In the beginning of 2009 a pilot Plan Vivo project was realized in the Kagera Region, Tanzania. By introducing agroforestry practices and involving farmers in big scale tree planting, the aspiration was to improve the farmers’ socioeconomic situation, make the farmers self sufficient and stop the degradation of land.
This Minor Field Study examined the participating small scale farmers land use, socioeconomic situation and expectations of the Plan Vivo project at the “zero position”. By conducting interviews with 19 farmers and creating maps of their Plan Vivo plots, it was revealed how the farmers’ situation was influenced by both social and environmental dynamics. The colonial heritage, practiced land tenure systems, raised pressure for natural recourses and changes in weather were both directly and indirectly affecting the farmers.
A lack of available land had resulted in the Plan Vivo plots being situated on erosion prone, marginalised land and the landscape was revealed to be extremely fragmented. Distinctions among the participating farmers were considered as the farmers could be divided into three different socioeconomic groupings. These incorporated the small scale farmers, the middle scale farmers and the large scale farmers and their situation varied significantly. Other income generating activities were used to improve the household’s economic situation and owning animals was seen as security for the future. The crops were valued after their ability to act as both cash and food crops, and hired labour was revealed to be of great importance for the farms productivity. The socioeconomic situation was worse in 2009 compared to 2004 for the majority of the farmers. The prolonged cultivation and the unsustainable system of land ownership, could lead to an intensification of the problems in the future. The majority of farmers did however apply agroforestry practices to enhance their land’s productivity.
The results also revealed how the farmers’ expectations on the project were very similar. They believed that their farm would transform in a positive way in the future, due to the expanded tree plantation. They expected that Plan Vivo would form better living conditions for the households, improve the environment and act as security for the coming generations.
Zettergren, F. & Törnqvist, A. (2009). Implementation of Plan Vivo in the Kagera region, Tanzania. Working Paper. No. 2009:8. Dalarna University.
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