Change and stability in the indigenous farming system of the Matengo

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Mbinga District is one of the most densely populated areas in Tanzania. The indigenous system in the Matengo highlands is characterised by the Matengo pit system. This system is believed to have sustained land productivity for over 100 years. But it now faces problems related to environmental degradation caused by bush fires and deforestation. These problems have emerged due to population pressure and the growing human activities on the land. At the same time, it is now acknowledged that sustainable rural development is one that is based on indigenous knowledge systems and sustainable agricultural practices. But an important question is what contributes to the sustainability of indigenous agricultural systems such as that of the Matengo, and how does the indigenous system adapt to changing circumstances? This paper presents a summary of the findings of the Miombo Woodlands Agro-ecological Research Project which was carried out in Mbinga District by a team of Sokoine University of Agriculture and Japanese scientists from 1994 to 1997, with the support of JICA.


Gender, Biodiversity and Local Knowledge Systems (LinKS) to Strengthen Agricultural and Rural Development (GCP/RAF/338/NOR Selected Papers from the First National Workshop held in Morogoro, 22-23 June, 1999


Indigenous farming system, Matengo highland, Land productivity, Agro-ecological Research Project, Tanzania