Stakeholders’ Perception on Impacts of Natural Environment Deterioration and Armed Conflict on Plant Production: Case Study of North Darfur State - Sudan
The study was conducted to assess the awareness and perception of local farmers with the causative factors of environmental degradation and to analyze the interactions of natural resources, rural livelihoods and armed conflict in North Darfur State. Six localities: El Fasher, Maleit, Malha, Kabkabia, Darsalam, and Omkadada were selected as study field using stratified random sampling method. A total of 300 interviewees were randomly selected for the household survey adopting semi-structured interviews. Questionnaires were used to collect socioeconomic characteristics. Key informants’ interviews and group discussions were also used to obtain additional information. The results revealed that great changes have been taken place in quantity and quality of natural vegetation towards negative trends according to respondents’ views. Majority of interviewees agree that the disappeared vegetation types were more palatable to livestock. About 88% of interviewees are farmers and agro-pastoralists, where their main food crops are millet and sorghum. While the cash crops are represented in groundnuts, water melons, and tobacco. However, during last decades the crop production was kept decreasing pattern due to climatic and anthropogenic factors spreading food insecurity. The impacts of ecosystem resource diminishing and armed conflict on each other and their effects on livelihoods became clear and recognizable by the local people. The community perception of ecosystem degradation in the area could be used to set strategies for conservation and rational use of natural resources. The study recommends for further investigation about the impacts of natural resource degradation on livelihood and plant productivity in the region.