Understanding homegarden in household food security strategy: Case study around Jimma, Southwestern Ethiopia

The biophysical and socioeconomic contributions of homegarden agroforestry practices are well appreciated throughout the world. This is particularly more relevant in tropical region as homegardens have been a way of life for century in the region. The present study tries to examine homegarden agroforestry practices and evaluate their significance towards household food security strategy in southwestern Ethiopia. A total of 98 homegardens (11%) were randomly selected for the study. A combination of complete plant inventory and interview were used to collect data. The result showed that the size of homegarden ranged from 0.01-1 ha with mean 0.15 ha. About 99% of the assessed homegarden were established on open areas in response to getting more food and cash to support family. Enset ventricosum, avocado, cabbage, maize, coffee, Catha edulis and banana were the most cultivated crops in the homegarden. The relative household income contribution of homegarden was found about 44.5%. Catha edulis and avocado accounted for about 72.6% of the homegarden income contribution. Income from homegarden increased an average household income from 2100-3784.11 Ethiopian Birr. A paired t testing result showed that the difference in average annual income of household due to homegarden was significant (t = 8.119, df = 97, p = 0.000). The present study revealed that contribution of homegarden goes beyond gap filling. Economic important crops dominated the homegarden. Some households were getting much benefit from their homegardens. Paying due attention to homegarden development has significant role in addressing household food security in the future.