Rural landuse in Sheema District.
BANANA PLANTATION PINEAPPLE SERICULTURE
The study aimed at analyzing the land use in Sheema District. The study particularly aimed at establishing the forms of land use existing in Shuuku sub county, investigating the factors that influence land use, as well as examining the changes that have occurred in land use compared to 20 years ago (1990 as a base year). The study used systematic sampling to select 64 household heads as sampling units and purposive sampling when selecting key respondents like the Local Council chair persons, community elders, among others. Also one focus group discussion was held in each parish where groups of 15 people were engaged in land use discussions. The questionnaires were administered to household heads and interviews held with key informants. The study established that the main land use activities included crop farming, livestock farming, forestry, stone quarrying, and sand mining. The main factor that influences land use was market demand. Most of the household were growing crops with high market prices and demand such as bananas, coffee and tea. Other factors pointed out were the size of the household, size of the land owned by household, and nature of soils. Population pressure was an important factor pointed out by many household heads and focus group discussions to be the main cause of land fragmentation and over use of land. Changes in land use activities were also noticed in the study area, where most of the traditional crops like millet and sorghum were abandoned by some households. People started considering growing of crops and rearing animals, which could yield more over a short time and utilizing small pieces of land. Exotic and cross-bred cows were introduced and practices such as zero grazing were adopted since they utilize small pieces of land but produce more milk. This marked the beginning of land use changes. Emphasis should be placed on raising the capacity of the local people of sub-county to use their land in a sustainable way and there is also a need for further research in order to avail more data for formulating a land use plan that fits well with soil types and land suitability.