THE LOCAL COMMUNITY’S LIVELIHOODS IN IRINGA MUNICIPAL, TANZANIA
Abstract: This paper examines the opportunities and challenges of the Little Ruaha River on the community’s livelihoods in Iringa Municipal, Tanzania. A total of 105 respondents from Ruahaward and 10 key informants were involved in this study. The study employed quantitative and qualitative approaches in collecting and analyzing data. Questionnaire surveys, interviews, field observations, and documentary reviews were used as data collection techniques. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics while qualitative data were analyzed using content analysis. The study findings reveal that the Little Ruaha River is very potential to the adjacent community as it supports small-scale agriculture, brickmaking, small-scale industries, domestic uses, and fishing. Though the river is very potential, full utilization of water resources is hindered by river fluctuation, improper human activities, water use restrictions, floods, the existence of dangerous animals, and lack of capital. The study concludes that the river is very potential to the local community, thus recommending sustainable exploitation of water resources for improved livelihood and resource conservation.
Challenges, Livelihoods, Little Ruaha River, Opportunities
Introduction: Rivers are essential for the life and well-being of the people and ecosystem around the globe. Rivers around the world supply water for various activities ranging from domestic to industrial uses (Mwakalila, 2014; Kashaigili et al., 2007). Various studies including International Labor Organization (ILO), (2019), Adu et al. (2017), Habiba et al. (2015), Chazovachii (2012), Taele et al. (2012), and Kashaigili et al. (2005) report on the importance of rivers on employment creation through agriculture and fishing. Potentials of rivers have been reported in different parts of the world. Habiba et al. (2015) report on the usefulness of rivers in Bangladesh where fishing employs more than 167,000 fishermenand acts as a source of water to livestock keepers. Additionally, Morton and Olson (2018) admit that the Mekong river which is shared by six South East Asian countries is the heart of more than 190 million people who depend on various river resources for their survival. Furthermore, it is reported that rivers help generate hydroelectric power which is very important for fostering economic development (Avila et al., 2017; Mwakalila, 2011; Kashaigili, 2007; Ngereza, 2005). Like other countries, Tanzania is endowed with various river systems across the country. The southern part of the country is very potential for water resources in which the Great Ruaha River (GRR) and the Little Ruaha River (LRR) are Journal of Global Resources January 2021 Biannual International Peer-Reviewed Journal Volume 07 (01) ISSN: 2395-3160 (Print)/2455-2445 (Online) Crossref DOI 10.46587
2 found (McClain et al., 2013):The GRR is the largest river in the southern art of the country and while LRR is one of its tributaries (Mwakalila, 2014).Both the GRR and LRR are very potential for economic developing Tanzania. The Mtera Reservoir which is very important for hydroelectric owner generation in Tanzaniais contributed by 56 percent of GRR, 26 percent of Kisigoriver, and 18 percent of LRR(Kashaigili et al., 2007). The communities along the GRR and LRR all depend on the land, water, and forest resources to live and produce goods(Mwakalila, 2014; Kashaigili et al.,2005).
Moreover, these rivers act as a lifeline of the Ruaha national ark and its ecosystem(Mwakalila, 2014; Kashaigili et al., 2007). Despite the reported river potentials in various countries of the world, full utilization of river resources is encountered by several challenges. Climatic changes and drying u of water sources is the most notable challenge towards achieving maximum utilization of rivers. A study by Kassian et al. (2017) noted the effects of climate change on river water flow in Tanzania which affected activities conducted along with the river system. In addition to that, Avila et al. (2017) observed that there liability of hydroelectric power in sub Saharan Africa was highly affected by climate change of which erratic rainfall patterns and long-term drought in some areas was reported to reduce the intended output of generated hydroelectric power In Tanzania, poulation growth has been reported to increase the demand for land which has resulted in high deforestation along with water sources thus negatively affecting river systems (Kassian et al., 2017; Mwakalila, 2014).
Not only that but also population increase has triggered overutilization of water resource through increased irrigation activities thus affect river water flow. Furthermore, poor agricultural practices along river catchments particularly, applications of toxic fertilizers and over-cultivation along the river valleys have also been reported to trigger the deterioration of water quality and quantity in rivers (URT,2012).Although various studies (Kassian et al., 2017; Mwakalila,2014; Mwakalila, 2011;Kangalawe et al., 2011; Kashaigili et al., 2007; Kashaigiliet al., 2005 and Ngereza, 2005)have been conducted to examine the importance of rivers and water resources on the people’s livelihood in Tanzania, little is reported on the usefulness of the LRR to the local community of Ruaha ward in Iringa Municipal, which created a articular concern for conducting this study.
This study, therefore, intends to identify the usefulness of LRR one people’s livelihood and examine challenges facing the local community in accessing potentials of LRR. The findings from this articular study add to the existing body of knowledge on potentials of rivers to the local community and challenges which face local communities in harnessing the benefits of water resources. Challenges identification helps the government in setting policies that are friendly to both community members and for environmental conservation.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The Study Area This study was carried out in Iringa Municipal, Tanzania (Figure 01). Iringa Municipal lies
between latitude 70 50ꞌ South and longitude 350 45ꞌ East. It covers an area of 176.987 square kilometers. Administratively, the Municipal has 16 wards namely Ruaha, Kihei,
Mkwawa, Kitwiru, Mtwivila, Mwangata, Isakalilo, Makorongoni, Nduli, Ilala, Kitanzini, Mlandege, Kwakilosa, Gangilonga, Mivinjeni and Mshindo (URT, 2013b; URT, 2011). This
particular study was conducted at Ruaha ward (Figure 01). Ruaha ward lies between latitude 70 43ꞌ South and longitude 350 42ꞌ East. According to the 2012 census report, the ward had a total population of 16,984 people with 9066 males and 7918 females (URT,2013a). The ward occupies an area of about 61.33 square kilometers (URT, 2013b).
3 Drainage and Soil System: The drainage pattern of Iringa Municipal comprises rivers, streams, and springs. LRR is the main river running through Iringa town covering 17 kilometers across the Municipal (URT, 2014). The drainage system is also characterized by springs including Kitwiru and Mawelele and seasonal streams namely Hoho, Kigonzile, Kitasengwa, Mwangata, Kibwabwa and Itamba flow to and from different directions. The geology of the area comprises hard rock characterized by loam, sandy loam, and alluvium soils ( URT, 2011).
The soils in the Municipal are very fertile thus being suitable for growing varieties of both cash and food crops.
Economic Activities The population of Iringa urban is involved in agricultural activities, wage employment, industrial activities, and trading. Urban farming (crop and livestock) employs over 29 percent of the labor force and contributes 40 percent of the food requirements for the Municipal (URT, 2014). The Municipal has a total of 13,300 out of 162,030 (Ha) being suitable for farming. Crops grown are maize, vegetables, sunflowers, beans, soya, and potatoes while animals kept include cattle, pigs, sheep, poultry, and goats (URT, 2011).
Not only that but also trading and commerce account for 58 percent of income-generating sources in the Municipal (URT, 2014). Industrial activities are also conducted in the Municipal characterized by both small and medium scale. Small scale industries comprise food processing, tailoring, and carpentry units. Medium-scale industries include those dealing with fruit processing, ivory sweets and oil production, bakery, dairy production, and milling machine (URT, 2011).
4.Sampling Techniques: Both simple and purposive sampling techniques were employed in selecting the study area and participants. Ruaha ward was purposively selected because it is among the areas where LRR crosses in large part thus being potential to the local community. Thereafter simple random sampling technique was used to select 105 respondents (8.5 percent) of 1235 people who were reported by government leaders to benefit either directly or indirectly from the LRR. The chosen sample size was more than 5 percent recommended by Boydet al. (1972) thus being representative. Additionally, the purposive sampling technique was employed in the selection of key informants who were involved in in-depth interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs).Methods of Data Collection and Analysis Questionnaire survey administration, interviews, field observation, and documentary review were employed as data collection techniques.
The study involved a total of 105 respondents for the questionnaire survey and 10 participants for in-depth interviews and FGDs Both closed and open-ended questions were used in collecting information about the potentials and challenges of LRR. One FGD (08 participants both males and females) was held. The group comprised people who were practicing small-scale agriculture and small-scale industrial workers. In-depth interviews were conducted with 2 participants who were government officials. Information from in-depth interviews and FGD helped to supplement the missing data from a questionnaire survey. Data obtained through questionnaire survey were coded and analyzed by using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and Microsoft Excel software to generate descriptive statistics. Qualitative data collected through interviews and FGDs were coded and arranged according to research themes through content analysis.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION:
Demographic Characteristics of Respondents Findings from this study (Table 1) revealed that 28.9 percent of respondents were aged between 20 to 29 years, 27.5 percent were between 30 to 39 years, 21.5 percent were aged between 40 to 49 years, 16.5 percent were above 50 years, and the remaining 5.6 percent were ranging between 10 to 19 years old. Moreover, an examination on sex indicates that, 56.7 percent of respondents were females, and the remaining (43.3 percent) were males.
Results further show that 47 percent of respondents had primary education, 31 percent had secondary education, 12 percent had no formal education, and the remaining
10 percent had tertiary education. Age, sex, and education levels have implications on livelihood strategies to an individual. There is a variation in activities involved between adults
and young as well as between females and males. The current results imply that most of the respondents were young and female who was found to engage in livelihood strategies
along the LRR, therefore they benefit more than other groups. Education levels have also a high influence on livelihood strategies. Higher education levels enable people to get formal employment while lower levels restrict people from formal employment. Therefore, the majority of respondents in the study area were having low education levels which limited them from accessing formal employment thus depended on the river potentials for their livelihood strategies. These findings resemble what is reported by Kinuthia et al. (2018) and Mulungu and Myeya (2018) who noted the influence of age, sex, and education on livelihood strategies.