Contribution of forest resources to food security: A case study of Mount Elgon National Park, Mbale District
This study was conducted between 14th July and 2nd August 2006. The main objective was to find out the contribution of Mount Elgon National Parks’ (MENP) resources to the food security of the surrounding rural communities. This arises out of the need to document the contribution of forests in enhancing the food security of the rural communities. The ways in which the rural people in less developed countries benefit from forests are rarely documented yet many communities especially those living around forests with no access to land and deprived of employment depend heavily on this vital resources for food, fuel and wood, construction materials, craft materials, water, bush meat and medicine among others. Data were collected using household questionnaire, focus group discussion, transect walk and observation. Data were analyzed in SPSS and excel. It was found that the contribution of forest resources to food security to the rural communities living around the forests is significant and valuable. It ranges from direct source of food to provision of income through selling of forest products. It is recommended that because forests continue to be central to livelihood of the local people around MENP, they should be the main stakeholders. Meeting their needs on sustainable basis should be the principle objective of managing MENP. Forestry policies and legislation must adopt a new goal for improving food security for the local people. Research is required on the linkages between forestry and food security around national parks. Of primary importance is the research on how to integrate food security objectives into the activities of UWA.