Contribution of wetland resources to household incomes of Riparian communities: A case study of Katonga wetland in Mpigi District
Katonga River wetlands are a partly permanent and seasonal system draining into Lake Victoria Bay. These wetlands contain various types of flora, fauna and other resources such as sand clay and it has been established from previous inventories that these resources contribute to livelihoods of surrounding communities through direct extraction and use of these resources. However, there is lack of information on the monetary value of these resources, the absence of which leads to degradation of the wetland. This study aimed at generating information on the importance of Katonga wetland resources, their economic value and contribution to incomes of surrounding communities. This information will contribute to the understanding and appreciation of the wetland and hence provoke action towards sustainable management and use. The study covered two sub counties in Mpigi District through which Katonga wetland runs. Water for domestic use was identified as the most important resources collected from the wetland, followed by fuel wood, water for animal use, phoenix palm leaves, fish, agricultural land, charcoal, phoenix palm stems, clay, fodder grasses, Rattan cane, sand, Phragmites reeds, herbs, monitor lizards and sitatunga (Tragelaphus Spekii) in that descending order. The wetland makes an important contribution to the community livelihoods in terms of both subsistence activities and direct income sources. Quantities collected reflect that communities are able to meet their basic demands such as water and fuel wood from the wetland. Subsistence use was dominated by domestic water supply ranked as the most important resource obtained from the wetland and valued at Uganda shillings (Ushs) 470,191 per household per year for 58% of the households/ Fishing was identified as the most important commercial activity generating an annual vale of Ushs 3,991,367 per respondent per year for the 36% of respondents involved in the activity. The wetland greatly contributes to the incomes of surrounding communities as a large percentage of respondents are dependent on the wetland for incomes (74.2%) and it mainly benefits low income groups in the community with fisheries activities providing the highest gross incomes for respondents. There is a high level of dependence on these resources yet quantities available are declining over the years. Efforts should be made not only to reflect these findings in district budgets and planning processes but also to develop strategies to ensure sustainable harvesting of resources. Among these include maintaining the wetland hydrology through catchment improvement, establishing sustainable harvesting levels and the strengthening of environment management institutions.
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