Vol.2, No.3, 318-333 (2011)
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/AS/
Agricultural Sciences
Farmers’ perceptions of pollinators’ importance in
coffee production in Uganda
Théodore Munyuli1,2*
1Department of Biology, National Center for Research in Natural Sciences, CRSN-Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, Kivu, Democratic Republic
of the Congo
2Department of Envir o n me n t a nd Natural Resource E c o nomics; Faculty of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences;
Namasagali Campus; Busitema University; Tororo, eastern Uganda; *Corresponding author:
tmunyuli@nres.busitema.ac.ug, tmunyuli@gmail.com, tmunyuli@yahoo.com
Received 30 April 2011; revised 26 June 2011; accepted 29 July 2011.
Coffee (Coffea canephora) is the principal cash
crop and the country’s largest agricultural for-
eign revenue earner in Uganda. Previous sur-
veys confirmed that coffee grown in central
Uganda was largely depending on bee pollina-
tion to set fruit set. Despite its high contribution
to the economics of agricultural sector in U-
ganda and despite its great dependency to bees
for fruit set, it is not clear if small-scale farmers
are aware of the importance of managing farm-
landscapes for pollination services conserva-
tion to increase coffee yield. The aim of this
study was to assess farmers’ perceptions and
knowledge of the importance of pollinators and
pollination services conservation for coffee
production enhancement. The main hypothesis
was that small-scale coffee growers were not
aware of the relevance of pollination services
for coffee production. Farmers’ surveys were
conducted in coffee-banana farming systems in
central Uganda.
It was found in this study that more than 90%
of interviewed farmers were not aware of the
role played by bees in coffee yield increase.
Farmers were not willing to manage their lands
to protect pollination services, particularly be-
cause they considered pollination service as an
unsolicited “free service”, or as a “public good”.
Farmers were not aware of the role of semi-
natural habitats serving as reservoir (hiding
points) for pollinators in the surrounding of
coffee fields. However, they were aware of some
ecosystem services delivered in the coffee-
banana farming system such as planting shad-
ing trees. Only 3.3% of respondents believed
that placing beehives in coffee farms could in-
crease the yield. The study recommended the
increase of the awareness of small-scale coffee
growers on the importance of pollinators to in-
crease coffee production.
It is recommended that future management of
pollination services are built on improving
farmers’ indigenous knowledge and on ade-
quate understanding of the ecology of the local
pollinator species. There is a need to broadly
scale-up best field, habitat and landscape man-
agement strategies and practices that are
friendly to coffee pollinators in rural landscapes
of Uganda
Keywords: Coffee Production; Ecosystem Service s
Delivered in Farmlands; Pollinating Services;
Farmers’ Perceptions of Pollinators; Pollinators
Conservation; Pollinator-Friendly
Farming practices; Uganda
Coffee (Coffea arabica and C. canephora) is an im-
portant commercial crop. It is the second most traded
global commodity by developing nations after oil [1].
Coffee is an important cash crop in Uganda because the
tree crop is the principal cash crop and the country’s
largest agricultural foreign revenue earner [2].
At the farmer level, coffee remains an important
source of income since its production accounts for over
10% of total income of the farmer [2]. At the national
level, income from coffee currently contributes around
20% - 26% of Uganda’s export earnings [2] In 1999,
coffee exports totaled 150,000 mt (2.5 million bags of 60
kg) representing US$125.316 million in foreign ex-
change earnings. Exports by value for Uganda coffee is
T. Munyuli / Agricultural Science 2 (2011) 318-333
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/AS/
of 398 million $USD in 2009 (Presidential press of 31
December 2010).
The improvement of coffee yield quality and quantity
at farm level remains importantly an area that requires
encouragement as part of national strategy to increase
the production of coffee in Uganda. Thus, improvement
and stability of co ffee productivity are very important in
the Uganda national economy. However the improve-
ment needs the understanding of farmers’ perceptions
and knowledge of po llinators and po llination services for
coffee production among other key production and
management factors to consider. It is important to collect
such information since any management and technology
that can be scaled-up to improve coffee production has
to be implemented by small scale growers.
There are many ecosystem services that are delivered
in agricultural landscapes and pollination service is one
of them. It may be difficult for farmers to invest in the
conservation of ecosystem services w ithout knowing and
being convinced of their importance. Farmers can not
consider managing their lands for the conservation of
ecosystem services delivered by pollinator biod iversity if
they are not aware or convinced of the importance of
these services for their livelihoods.
In Sub-Saharan Africa and in Uganda, farmers’ per-
ceptions and awareness about the role of pollinators in
coffee production remain largely un-documented. Yet,
such information is necessary for developing suitable
management plans to conserve agro-ecosystems and
services delivered in and from these agro-ecosystems for
coffee productivity stability and improvement. Informa-
tion about indigenous knowledge’s and perceptions of
pollination serv ices is necessary to be incorporated in the
design of management strategies for increasing and
maintaining pollination services for the stability of the
yield of coffee and other pollinator-dependent crops and
for on-farm biodiversity conservation .
Pollination is a service nature provides that is mostly
taken for granted, and very little is done to improve or
maintain this natural serv ice [3]. However, pollinatio n is
an ecosystem service that is key to food security [4-6].
Pollinators are essential for many vegetable, fruit and
seed based crops including coffee that are grown in
Uganda and in Sub-Sahara Africa. Good agricultural
environmental health is fundamental to sustainable
farming [3]. For pollen-limited crops, promoting polli-
nation services is a mean of increasing their productivity
without resorting to expensive agricultural inputs such as
pesticides and herbicides. Indeed, pollination services
are most likely underpinning productivity in many Sub-
Saharan grown crops without farmers even recognizing
it [6].
Globally, the con tribution of pollinators for increasing
genetic diversity, adaptation, seed set or crop production,
crop quality and natural regeneration of wild and culti-
vated crops species has been highlighted and the need to
conserve pollinators h as been stressed worldwide [7-11].
Yet the public’ knowledge of the role of pollinators re-
mains poorly documented or not documented at all, es-
pecially in Sub-Saharan Africa [2] including Uganda,
where farmers grow crops with high degree of vulner-
ability to future pollinators decline [2]. Conducting an
interview survey seems to be an important step in infor-
mation generation for policy-makers concerned with
issues related to conciliate on-farm pollinator biodiver-
sity conservation and promotion of agriculture moderni-
zation that is aiming at increasing agriculture production
and thereby increasing household annual income and
employment opportunity of the farmers.
Hence, the relevance of assessing specific knowledge
by farmers on pollinator importance for coffee crop
yields increase, agriculture, wild biodiversity and agro-
biodiversity conservation.
The understanding of farmers’ perceptions of pollina-
tor importance in coffee production can help in devel-
oping strategies to reduce on the negative attitudes and
influence the change of attitudes and opinions towards
the adoption of environmentally friendly farming prac-
tices by farmers.
The objective of this study was to document farmers’
knowledge and perceptions of the importance of ecosys-
tem services delivered in farmlands and of pollinators
for coffee yield increase and stability. It was hypothe-
sized that “small-scale coffee growers were not aware of
coffee pollinators and perceive these as not important in
coffee production because “granted by the nature”. Be-
cause most managers of coffee farms (from central
Uganda) are aged (50 - 70 years) male farmers, and that
female farmers play a secondary role, it was therefore
hypothesized that the knowledge of pollination by farm-
ers would be linked to the gender and age of the farmer.
Since most coffee growers have small land area, it was
expected that the size of the coffee farm would influence
the knowledge of pollination. It was also predicted that
the knowledge of pollination would be linked to the
level of education since in most schools in Uganda; stu-
dents get to learn pollination issues. These expectations
combined to various others were tested by carrying out
an analysis on most probable factors explaining such
knowledge among small scale coffee growers from cen-
tral Uganda.
2.1. Survey Area and Sites
This study survey w as conducted in the banana-coffee
T. Munyuli / Agricultural Science 2 (2011) 318-333
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. http://www.scirp.org/journal/AS/
system of Lake Victoria Arc in central Uganda (Figure
1). This system is based on the production of banana
(Musa sp.), (mainly cooking and dessert types) as the
main food crop and coffee, mainly Coffea robusta, as the
main cash crop. Food production is mainly condu cted by
small scale less-resourced farmers. The coffee-banana
system covers the districts of Jinja, Iganga Mukono,
Mityana, Luwero, Rakai, Masaka, Wakiso, Kampala,
Mpigi, Mubende, Mukono, Kamuli, Mabira districts of
central Uganda. The Lake Victoria Arc, central Uganda,
is characterized by ferrisoils with high to medium fertil-
ity level, and receives on average 1000 - 1700 mm of
rains on a bimodal pattern (rainy seasons: March-May,
September-November; dry to semi-dry seasons: June-
August, December-February) with 22˚C - 28˚C and 60%
- 75% of temperature and relative humidity respectively.
The area is characterized by the prevalence of high rains
although the rainfall amounts and patterns are unpre-
The study zone belong to the Lake Victoria phyto-
chorion, with shrubs of Acacia spp, legume trees, melli-
ferous plant species, Papyrus and palms ranging from 2
to 15 m high dominating the remnant secondary vegeta-
tion. Several food and cash crops are grown, mainly
cassava (Manihot esculentum L.), Sweetpotato, ( Ipo-
moea batatus, L.), maize (Zea mays), beans (Phaseolus
vulgarus L.), groundnut (Arachis hypogea L.); tomato
(Lycopersicon esculentum), watermelon (Citrullus lana-
tus), pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata), cucumber (Cucu-
mis sativus), melon (Cucumis melo); chilies (Capsicum
spp.); and several other fruits, vegetables and horticul-
tural crops (cabbage, onion etc., egg plants, sim-sim, etc.).
The majority of these crops are grown in small-scale
monoculture and or polyculture fields that are integrated
into the coffee-banana agroforest production systems
where coffee and banana ar e the heading co rp s . Coffee is
the cash crop of economic importance at national level,
mainly produced in this region, while banana is the main
staple food crop [2]. However, some large monocultures
and Estates of industrial crops (tea, sugar, and coffee)
Figure 1. Location of sites (per district) in which the survey on farmers’ perceptions of pollinator importance to coffee pro-
duction was conducted in the coffee-banana farming systems area around Lake Victoria in Uganda.
Openly accessible at
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are found in the study zone. Traditional agroforestry
systems with multipurpose tree species such as avocado
(Persea americana), papaya (Carica papaya), mango
(Mangifera indica L.), jackfruit, citrus trees, anonas
(Annona spp.). These tree species are mainta ined in sim-
ple and complex traditional agroforestry systems, indi-
cating the diversity of farming systems in the landscapes.
Lantana camara L., an invasive species, and several
tropical flowering plant species are often found on
farmlands and in home gardens.
Rural central Uganda is mosaic landscape where “is-
lands” of natural habitats (forest fragments, forest fal-
lows, forest reserves, wetlands) are found scattered
within agricultu ral matrices dominated by lin ear and no-
linear features of semi-natural habitats (fallows, hedge-
rows, grasslands, cattle pastures) that are displayed as
field boundaries of the diversity of small-scale fields.
Compared to other regions (districts) of Uganda, the
area is also characterized by high demographic pressure,
limited access to arable lands, continuous cultivation and
over-exploited lands. Central Uganda is characterized by
different population densities from two main tribes (Ba-
ganda and Basoga): very high (400 - 500 pers/km2), high
(200 - 400 pers/km2), medium (100 - 200 pers/km2) and
low (50 - 100 pers/km2). The region has benefited much
with some of the interventio ns (agricultural technologies
dissemination) deployed by PMA (Plan for moderniza-
tion of agriculture) actors and partners interested in
socio-economic transformation and sustainable devel-
opment of agricultural sector in Ugan da.
Different study sites were intentionally selected b ased
on assumptive criteria of drivers that may potentially be
responsible for differences in knowledge of pollinator
communities by local people across different localities
found within the study zone. A total of 26 sites (Figure 1)
was selected to represent a range of habitats types of
varying degrees of anthropogenic disturbances, and
management intensities (Figure 1) These included hu-
man population densities; farm management practices,
cultivation intensities (traditional small-scale farms ver-
sus large and intensely managed plantations or estates);
natural and semi-natural habitats, gradient of vegetation
complexity and structures (strata) found within and be-
tween agricultural fields. Two to four sites (1 km2 each
site) were selected per district. The different surveys
conducted were grouped into clusters using human
population density as a surrogate measure of agricultural
intensity [2]
2.2. Surveys on Farmers’ Knowledge
Ecosystem Services, Pollination
Services, Pollinators and Their
Importance in Coffee Production
Interviews started with group discussions with local
coffee farmers selected from all the administrative units
of the study area. The group discussions were followed
by detailed household interv iews. For these interviews, a
stratified random sample of coffee growers was selected
involving abo ut 17% of the village coffee growers in the
study area.
A total of 120 farmers (60 males and 60 females) were
interviewed from 26 study sites (Figure 1) to document
their knowledge of valuable ecosystem services deliv-
ered in coffee-banana farming system and to document
their knowledge and perception of coffee pollinators and
their importance to coffee production. In each stud y site,
4 farmers (two males and two females) engaged in cof-
fee growing and productions were selected for the inter-
views. Interviews were conducted as recommended [12-
14]. Interviews were conducted during coffee blooming
seasons (June-August 2007 and November 2007 to
March 2008). The farmers were randomly selected from
the study sites selected per district using lists of coffee
farmers obtained from local council chairpersons.
Prior to conduct formal interviews on the importance
of pollinators for coffee, a questionnaire was submitted
to farmers and aimed at assessing the level of apprecia-
tion and knowledge of different valuable ecosystem ser-
vices delivered in the coffee-banana farming systems.
There exist a number of ecosystem services delivered in
rural landscapes .The pre-survey concentrated on eco-
system services that are relevant and likely to be deliv-
ered in the coffee-banana farming systems of central
Uganda. Selected ecosystem services likely to be deliv-
ered in the coffee-banana farming system are presented
in Table 1.
To assess the level of knowledge of farmers of these
ecosystem services and to understand how farmers ap-
preciate these ecosystem services for their livelihood
improvement, each ecosystem service was presented to a
farmer as statement relating its importance in the agro-
ecosystem. The researcher provided sufficient explana-
tion to the farmer about the role, function and impor-
tance of that ecosystem service in the agro-ecosystem.
After explanation, each farmer was requested to state
whether he agreed, disagreed or nether agreed/disagreed
with the statement. Farmers who responded that they
agreed are those believed to be aware of the value of that
ecosystem service.
A formal interview followed shortly after collecting
data during the preli minary interview. During the formal
interview, farmers were interviewed using a pre-tested
structured questionnaire. The questionnaire was filled
using face to face interviews. All interviews and discus-
sion with farmers were conducted in the main local lan-
guage (Luganda) either at the farmer’s home or in the
coffee-banana field where such fields were within 1 km
T. Munyuli / Agricultural Science 2 (2011) 318-333
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Table 1. Type of statements on valuable ecosystem services delivered in coffee-banana farming systems in central Uganda.
No Supporting services
1 Soil structure and fertil ity is important to be maintained to increase crops yields
2 Nutrient cycling maintains soil fertility through mediation of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes) that enhance soil fertility by liber-
ating nutrients from detrital organic matter
3 Bacteria enhance nitrogen availability through the fixation of nitrogen from the atmosphere, thus contributing t o better yield of legume crops
4 Non-crop plant products (organic matter, cow dung) are keys to soil fertility since they can replenish nutrients to agricultural land during fallow
5 Conservation tillage can contribute to increase soil fertility and crop yields
6 Upstream soil erosion control contribute to high crop yields
Regulating services
7 Some insects contribute to better yields of my crops
8 Ground beetles provide dung burial services and decompose wastes thereby recycling nitrogen and contributing to enhance soil fertility.
9 Ground beetle, ladybeetles, spiders, ladybugs, mantis, syrphid flies, and wasps, and lacewings reduce crop pest, thereby contributing to bette
yield of your cr ops
10 The harvest can be reduced to nil if stingless bees, honeybees and other wild bees do not visit the flowers of crops (stimulant/vegetable/legume/
fruit) they grow
11 Moths, butterflies, flies visit ation to crops help to get better yield for most of crops we gr ow
12 Sunbirds, bats visitations to flowers of crops like coffee contribute to higher fruit set; in addition, they reduce/eat crop pests (e.g. coffee berries
13 Growing in mixture many crop varieties (landraces) increases resistance of your crops to disease attacks; thereby contributing to better yields o
your crops
14 Increasing a high cover of trees on farm contribute to high rainfall in my village
15 Polyculture systems contribute to the stabilization of temperature and precipitation regime s (cont ribute to the reduction of frequency and severity
of extreme weather, droughts, flo ods, etc.) than monocultures in the village
16 Favorable, suitable and stable climate with sufficient rains can be obtained if we plant many trees in the village
17 Cutting or clearing all forests and semi-natural habitats around my gardens can contribute to high yield loss
18 Keeping a large amount of forested habitats help in getting clean purified water downstream(at the bottom of hill/mountains) and reduce soil
erosion in the village.
19 Planting shading trees along coffee farms can contribute to increase coffee yield
20 Sun coffee yield better than shaded coffee
Provisioning services
21 Great harvests (crop production) and food we eat can not be obtained without participation of insects, micro-organisms, birds in the production
Non-marketed services
22 Aesthetic and beautiful landscapes obtained in the village thr o u g h t r e e p l a n t i n g c a n con t r i bu t e t o your health and long life
from a farmer’s homestead and the farmer was willing to
be interviewed on site. The researcher visited every re-
spondent’s coffee field in order to verify some of their
Interviews were conducted in order to collect neces-
sary information that could help to understand the level
of knowledge of farmers about pollinators and pollina-
tion mechanisms. The survey questionnaire comprised
two main parts. The first section sought general socio-
demographic information about respondents, including
age, gender, household income, gender labour in coffee
production, marital status, number of children and for-
mal education. The second section gathered information
relating to respondents’ knowledge of coffee pollination
and perception of the importance of pollin ators to coffee
yield and other crops.
Specifically, farmers were asked to i) describe their
understanding of pollination, ii) identify and differenti-
ate between wild bees, honeybees and insect pests iii)
mention the role of bees and other pollinators in coffee
fruit set, iv) identify nesting habitats of different wild
bee species that visit coffee flowers, and v) comment on
the effects of pesticides application on honeybees and
other pollinators in fields. Photographs of insect pests
and different kind of pollinators were presented to re-
spondents to help in identification of different species of
insects visiting coffee flowers.
2.3. Data Analysis
The survey data were encoded, entered into a spread-
sheet and checked prior to analysis. Cross-tabulation
with selected variables, percentages and means were
undertaken using pivot table in Microsoft Excel 2003.
Percentages were based on either the total number of
respondents or total responses, details of which are pro-
vided in the respective text or tables. Chi-square test was
T. Munyuli / Agricultural Science 2 (2011) 318-333
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used to determine the effects of farmers’ socio-demo-
graphic profiles on their knowledge and perceptions of
pollinators and their roles in coffee production. Chi-
square test was also used to identify significant differ-
ence in response of males and females in the agreement
of statements proposed about the importance of differen-
tiate ecosystem services delivered in farmlands. All sta-
tistical analyses (chi-square) were conducted using
Minitab 15, English Version.
A logistic regression analysis was conducted to de-
termine most important factors that could probably have
influenced knowledg e of pollination by farmers. Logistic
regression allows one to predict a discrete outcome from
a set of independent variables that may be continuous,
discrete, and dichotomous, or a mix of any of these. The
dependent variable in this case, the knowledge of polli-
nation, had binary values, i.e., yes or no response.
3.1. General Perception of Types of
Valuable Ecosystem Services Delivered
in the Coffee-Banana Farming Systems
in Central Uganda
Interviewed farmers (males and females) in the sam-
ple were mostly aged (50 - 70 years). Respondents de-
clared that farming was the main source of their income.
In addition, majority of these farmers declared that their
annual incomes came from coffee farming activities and
that they have almost no off-farm incomes. Declared
farm incomes were in general low (<US $ 1500 - 2500
per annum) but the family incomes were higher when
farmers owned big land of coffee.
Various statements (Table2) explaining the impor-
tance of different ecosystem services delivered in farm-
lands were read and explained to farmers. The purpose
was to identify if farmers knew or were aware of the
value of these ecosystem services and if they were could
to care for their preservation. In relationship to coffee
pollination, ecology and management for yield increase,
statements 10, 11, 12, 19 and 20 (Ta b le 2 ) were mixed
among other statements and set to identify if farmers
acknowledge the value of these ecosystem services de-
livered in coffee-banana farming system.
When asked if they believed that “harvests can be re-
duced to nil if stingless bees, honeybees and other wild
bees do not visit the flowers of crops they grow”, 45
(75%) of males and 37 (61.7%) of female respondents
disagreed with the statement number 10. However, there
was no significant difference in the disagreement in rela-
Ta b l e 2 . Farmers’ attitudes and knowledge and awareness of important ecosystem services delivered in coffee-banana agroforestry
systems. (Do you agree/disagree with the statement?: Number of farmers agreeing/disagreeing with statement). Total number of in-
terviewed: 120 (60 females and 60 males). Significance levels of chi-square test: *P < 0.05; **P < 0.01; ***P < 0.001, ns = not
significant, NT = not test conducted.
Number of statements on
types of ecosyst em ser-
vices DS = Disagree AG = Agree NAD = Neither
Agree/Disagree Dominant perception
(% of farmers)
Male Female (
²-test) Male Female(
²-test) Male Female(
²-test) Male Female
Supporting services Ch-Sq Ch-Sq Ch-Sq Ch-Sq
1 19 10 2.79 ns 40 49 0.91 ns1 1 0.00 ns AG (66.7) AG (81.7)1.51 ns
2 5 8 0.69 ns 5 7 0.34 ns40 4 5 0.29 ns NAD (66.7) NAD (75.0)0.49 ns
3 10 12 0.18 ns 15 3 8.11 ns35 45 1.25 ns NAD (58.3) NAD (75.0)2.07 ns
4 0 0 NT 45 50 0.36 ns15 10 1.00 ns AG (75.0) AG (91.0)1.53 ns
5 0 0 NT 6 0 6.11 **54 60 0.32 ns NAD (90.0) NAD (100.0)0.52 ns
6 40 45 0.29 ns 5 10 1.66 ns15 5 5.00 ** DA (66.7) DA (75.0)0.49 ns
Regulating services
7 2 4 0.66 ns 1 5 2.66 ns47 5 1 0.16 ns NAD (78.3) NAD (85.0)0.27 ns
8 12 10 0.18 ns 28 34 0.58 ns20 16 0.46 * AG (46.7) AG (56.7)0.98 ns
9 19 10 2.79 ns 11 45 20.65 ***30 5 17.87 ***AG (75.0) NAD (50.0)5.14*
10 45 37 0.78 ns 10 13 0.39 ns5 10 1.66 ns DS (75.0) DS (61.7) 1.23 ns
11 25 5 3.31 * * 5 10 1.66 ns30 4 5 3.11 ns NAD (75.0) NAD (50.0)5.41 *
12 35 40 0.33 ns 5 13 3.56 **20 7 6.35 ns DS (58.3) D S (66.7) 0.56 ns
13 10 4 2.5 ns 15 46 15.75 ***35 1 32.11 ***AG (76.7) NAD (58.3)2.46 ns
14 2 4 0.66 ns 35 56 4.85 **17 0 17.0 ***AG (93.3) AG (58.3)8.76 **
15 10 4 2.57 ns 34 26 1.05 ns16 30 4.26 * AG (56.7) NAD (50.0)0.41 ns
16 4 0 4.12 * 45 55 1.00 ns10 5 1.66 ns AG (41.7) AG (91.7)18.75**
17 2 43 37.5 ** 3 17 9.87 ***25 0 25.0 ***NAD (66.7) NAD (75.0)0.49 ns
18 12 5 2.89 ns 40 55 2.37 ns18 0 18.00 ***AG ( 58 .3) AG (91.7)7.45**
19 7 3 1.69 ns 53 49 1.98 ns0 8 14.1 ** AG (83.3) AG (8 1.7)3.31 ns
20 30 35 1.98 ns 7 13 0.38 ns23 12 3.46 ns DS (50.0) DS (5 8.3) 0.65 ns
Provisioning services
21 5 5 0.00 ns 10 15 1.00 ns45 40 0.29 ns NAD (75.0) NAD (66.7)0.49 ns
Non-marketed services
22 0 0 NT 40 34 0.48 ns20 26 0.78 s AG (66.7) AG (56. 7)0.84 ns
T. Munyuli / Agricultural Science 2 (2011) 318-333
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/AS/
tionship to gender (
²-test, P > 0.05). This result indi-
cated that the majority of respondents did not perceive
the contribution of wild bees, stingless bees and honey-
bees in boosting their crop harvests including coffee. In
other words, farmers were not aware of the value of
ecosystem services delivered by bees to their crops.
Only few farmers were aware of the key role played by
pollination services for coffee. As indicated in Ta b l e 2,
most respondents hold the view that the presence or ab-
sence of stingless bees on coffee flowers has no impact
on coffee fruit set and yield. Not only that farmers did
not know the role of bees but the role played by other
pollinators (moths, butterflies, flies) to h elp crops getting
better yields for most of crops they grow remain largely
unknown . In fact 75% of males and 50% of female re-
spondents neither agreed nor disagreed with statement
number 11, meaning that they were not sure or certain,
probably the information was new to them.
Similarly, most farmers (58.3% of males and 66.7% of
females respondents) disagreed equally (
²-test, P > 0.05)
with the statement number 12 (Ta ble 2) indicating that
“sunbirds and bats visitations to flowers of crops like
coffee could lead to higher fruit set of coffee through
reduction by eating crop pests (e.g. coffee berries borers)
and throug h pollination of coffee flowers”.
When asked if “planting shading trees along coffee
farms could contribute to increased coffee yield”, 53
(83.3%) of males and 49 (81.7%) of females respondents
agreed with the statement 19 although there was no sig-
nificant difference related to the gender (
²-test, P >
0.05). However, there was a significant difference (
test = 14.1, P < 0.001) between men and women who
neither agreed/disagreed that planting shading trees
along coffee farms could contribute to increase coffee
“Coffee being a male crop” in central Uganda, some 8
female farmers were not sure of if shading of coffee
trees could increase coffee yield, whereas most men
agreed that shading can increase coffee yield in the pro-
portion of 10 to 35%. When asked if sun coffee could
yield better than shade coffee, most (50%) males and
females (58.3%) disagreed with the statement 20 (Table
2), meaning that they believed that shading coffee could
lead to better yield better than sun coffee (Table 2).
3.2. Farmers Perceptions of Importance of
Pollinators for Coffee
Up to 70% of farmers did not understand what polli-
nation meant (Table 3). The proportion (%) of respon-
dents who did not know what attract massively insects
(bees) to coffee blossoms flowers was high but statisti-
cally (P > 0.05) similar between men (72%) and women
Farmers were unable to separate and distinguish hon-
eybees from all other bee species and pest species.
Around 25% of respondents knew honeybees and stin-
gless bees. Women (33.3%) had higher understanding
²-test, 1df = 5.6, P < 0.05) of honeybees and stingless
bees than did men (16.7%). Only 8.2% of men could
recognize that among the different kinds of insects pre-
sented to them were pollinators or natural enemies. In
addition, women knew honey as the only benefit from
honeybees (Table 3). Up to 41% of the respondents
perceived that these insects (flower-visitor insects shown
to them) are just there and will always bee there. The
majority of respondents (35.8%) were not aware of any
ecological services performed by insects in thei r gard ens.
Almost (35%) of respondents stated that the majority of
these insects presented to them were pests or just playing
with coffee flowers but actually not harmful or benefi-
cial to coffee (Table 3).
According to farmers, pollination service is “un-so-
licited” services or a “free service” or a “public good”.
Small-scale farmers do not feel the need for managing
their farms for the provision of a “public good”
The majority (90%) of the respondents were not aware
of the role played by pollin ators in coffee yield and pro-
duction (Table 3 ) althou gh a high number of bee species
visited coffee flowers during blooming seasons (Table
3). Hence, they did not perceive that coffee needs bees to
produce. Significantly higher percentage of men (50%)
than percentage of females (11.7%) perceived that bees
were not important for coffee fruit set (
²-test, 1df =
23.8, P < 0.0001). Most farmers (65%) believed that
coffee can still produce even if th e flowers were not vis-
ited by bees.
Most of the respondents (75%) did not know where
wild bees constructed their nests. Farmers had no idea of
the role of semi-natural habitats as reservoir for pollina-
tors in the surrounding of coffee fields. All respondents
knew the importance of pesticides in pest/weed man-
agement, although some of them frequently said they
had no means to buy them. For those who could afford
buying these pesticides, 95% of them were not aware if
pesticides could kill b ees including honeybees (Table 3).
When asked if they believed that placing hives in coffee
gardens could increase coffee fruit set and yield, only
3.3% of respondents believed that hives in coffee farms
could increase coffee yield; majority of the respondents
believed that beehives have no impact on yield of coffee
and other crops they grow (Table 3).
3.3. Factors Determining Knowledge of
Pollination by Farmers
During discussion with farmers, compared to females,
male respondents frequently offered an explanation and
T. Munyuli / Agricultural Science 2 (2011) 318-333
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Table 3. General knowledge and perception of farmers about the role of pollinators (bees) In coffee pollination and yield increase.
Gender Number of respondents(%)
Variables Males % Males Females % Females
²-test All respondents All (%)
(A): Respondents knowledge of insect groups frequently seen visiting coffee blossoms (flowers)
1. Apini-Meliponini 10 16.7 20 33.3 5.6 * 30 25.0
2. Ceratinini-Megachilini 0 0.0 0 0.0 NT 0 0.0
3. Anthophorini-Xyloc opini 2 3.3 2 3.3 NT 4 3.3
4. Honeybee (Apini) + Pests 2 3.3 0 0.0 3.3 ns 2 1.7
5. Honey bees + non-pests 25 41.7 6 10.0 19.4 *** 31 25.8
6. Butterflies/Moths 2 3.3 9 15.0 7.4 ** 11 9.2
7. Wasps/Ant s 0 0.0 4 6.7 6.7 * 4 3.3
8. Flies 7 11.7 2 3.3 4.6 * 9 7.5
9.Halictini-Eucerini 0 0.0 0 0.0 NT 0 0.0
10. Thrips/Beetles 3 5.0 3 5.0 NT 6 5.0
11. Other pests 4 6.7 4 6.7 NT 8 6.7
12. Do not know 5 8.3 10 16.7 2.8 ns 15 12.5
(B): Respondents knowledge of insect group mostly damaging coffee crop and other cultivated staple plants
1. Honeybees 0 0.0 0 0.0 NT 0 0.0
2. Butterflies 1 1.7 9 15.0 10.7 ** 10 8.3
3. Wasps 15 25.0 1 1.7 20.4 *** 16 13.3
4. Flies 24 40.0 15 25.0 3.5 ns 39 32.5
5. Beetles 0 0.0 0 0.0 NT 0 0.0
6. Ants/thrips 10 16.7 20 33.3 5.6 * 30 25.0
7. Other Pests 4 6.7 0 0.0 6.7 * 4 3.3
8. Do not know 5 8.3 15 25.0 8.4 ** 20 16.7
(C): Are you aware that some insects listed above as flower visitors/pests of coffee crops are beneficial
(e.g. as food, predators, parasitoids, pollinate crops, or make the soil to be more fertile and productive)?
1. None is beneficial 20 33.3 10 16.7 5.6 * 30 25.0
2. They are pests 12 20.0 30 50.0 12.9 *** 42 35.0
3. I do not know 23 38.3 20 33.3 0.4 ns 43 35.8
4. Some are beneficial 5 8.3 0 0.0 8.3 ** 5 4.2
(D): What do you t h ink attract bees/insects on your crop flowers? Do they just come play on coffee flowers?
1. The smell of flowers 0 0.0 10 16.7 16.7*** 10 8.3
2. Nectar/pollen 5 8.3 0 0.0 8.3 ** 5 4.2
3. Resting/shelter 2 3.3 5 8.3 2.1 ns 7 5.8
4. Do not known 43 71.7 44 73.3 1.6 ns 87 72.5
5. Others reasons 10 16.7 1 1.7 12.3 *** 11 9.2
(F): Do you think bees and or other pollinato r s may play important role in coffee fruit set and yield increase?
1. Yes it very Important 5 8.3 1 1.7 4.5 * 6 5.0
2. Not importa nt at all 30 50.0 7 11.7 23.8 *** 37 30.8
3. They are just there 20 33.3 30 50.0 3.3 ns 50 41.7
4. Do not know 5 8.3 22 36.7 17.8*** 27
(H): Knowledge of wild bee nesting sites: where do you think bees you see visiting your coffee flowers sleep?
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Copyright © 2011 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/AS/
1. Tree branches 0 0.0 2 3.3 3.3 ns 2 1.7
2. Dead wood 0 0.0 0 0.0 NT 0 0.0
3. House walls/kraals 5 8.3 10 16.7 2.8 ns 15 12.5
4. Grounds (in the soil) 0 0.0 0 0.0 NT 0 0.0
5. Termite mounds 10 16.7 3 5.0 6.3 * 13 10.8
6. Do not known 45 75.0 45 75.0 2.2 ns 90 75.0
(G): Knowledge of effects of herbicides/insecticides: are you aware that they do killing honeybees/wild bees?
1. Herbicides 1 1.7 0 0.0 NT 1 0.8
3 Insecticides 4 6.7 1 1.7 3.1 ns 5 4.2
3. Do not know 55 91.7 59 98.3 0.24 ns 114 95.0
(K): Do you believe that placing beehives in your field can increase your coffee yield in addition to the honey?
1. Do not believe 45 75.0 0 0.0 75 *** 45 37.5
2. I believe 2 3.3 2 3.3 NT 4 3.3
3. Do not know 13 21.7 58 96.7 47.6 *** 71 59.2
(L): Which factor you think play a very significant role for flowers to turn into higher fruit set & coffee yield?
1. Rains + soil fertility 20 33.3 35 58.3 6.8 ** 55 45.8
2. Wind (+ “God”) 1 1.7 0 0.0 NT 1 0.8
3. Coffee varieties 9 15.0 5 8.3 1.9 ns 14 11.7
4. Management 15 25.0 20 33.3 1.2 ns 35 29.2
5. Uncertain 15 25.0 0 0.0 25 *** 15 12.5
Significance levels of chi-square test: *P < 0.05; **P < 0.01; *** P < 0.001, ns = not significant, NT = not test cond u cted
definition of the world “pollination”. Because the pro-
portion of males and females who knew how pollinators
were important in crop yield increase was low and gen-
der biased, the researcher though that such information
could not be acquired in the traditional fashion of
knowledge transmission. Therefore, several factors were
suspected to likely contributing to po llination knowledg e.
Around 12 factors (Table 4) were selected as important
drivers of such knowledge. In order to explore their ef-
fects, data was collected such as for each variable, two
values could be obtained (1 = Yes, 0 = No). These fac-
tors included, age, gender, level of education, exposure
to extension service etc.
Several hypotheses were therefore constructed for se-
lecting variables to in clude in the model acco rding to the
objective of the study which was to determine the level
of knowledge of pollination and pollination mechanisms
and its importance to crop productivity among small-
scale holders.
For example, education was chosen as an independent
factor as it was hypothesized that people who spent
much time at school are likely to be aware of what is
pollination because they may have learnt it from school
or they do reading or listening to radio or watch televi-
sions. Age, gender and farming experience were also
seen as likely factors influencing the knowledge of pol-
Table 4. Description of the respondent variables selected for
logit regression as they were suspected to influence the knowl-
edge of the farmers of pollination.
1. Age of t h e farmer [(1 = (>40 years); 0 = (<35 years)]
2. Number of years already spent farming coffee (1 = >15 years; 0 = <
10 years)
3. Gender of the respondent (1 = Male; 0 = Female).
4. Contact with extension services (1 = Yes; 0 = No) as potential
sources of information about pollination
5. Higher capacity of differentiating honeybees from wild bee species
visiting coffee flowers (1 = Yes; 0 = No)
6. Higher capability of differentiating a wild bee from a pest on a cof-
fee flowers ( 1 = Yes; 0 = No)
7. Acquired basic primary and or secondary education (1 = Yes; 0 =
8. Mode of acquisition of the coffee field or farm (1 = planted all my
coffee field myself; 0 = inherited)
9. Source of main agricultural household income (1 = coffee produc-
tion, 0=other cro p s ) for farmers who were not engaged in off-farm
income generating activities
10. Engaged in farming a cash crop that require hand pollination such
as Vanilla crop ( 1 = Yes, 0 = No)
11. Size of the coffee farm [1 = large (> 5 ha), 0 = small (0.1 - 2 ha)]
12. General attitude: Believing( ag reeing) on the importance of main-
taining a significant proportion (> 20% of total field) or protecting
hedgerows/fallows/forests i n t h e v icinity of coffee fields for yield
increase [(1 = strongly agree, 0 = strongly disagree)]
lination. It was also assumed that knowledge of nectar/
pollen collection by bees on coffee flowers could be a
prerequisite to knowledge about pollination. It was also
thought that respondents who had regular contact with
T. Munyuli / Agricultural Science 2 (2011) 318-333
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/AS/
extensions services could be able to know what the word
pollination meant because extension workers are well
trained in pollination issues and therefore assumed that
they may bring such information to farmers.
Van illa is a cash crop that is well cultivated in central
Uganda, and it involves hand pollination. No farmer is
aware that small megachild bees do pollinating Vanilla
crop in coffee-banana farming system in Uganda.
Therefore, farmers who grew Vanilla were likely to
know what pollination was because they are always in-
volved in hand pollination business. The number of
years already spent farming coffee was judged to be an
important factor since farmers who grow coffee tend to
have or seek for general information about coffee grow-
ing and productivity maintenance over times. These
farmers regularly visit the national agricultural research
institutes of Uganda (NARO) where scientists are likely
to be able to communicate to them the word pollination.
The mode of acquisition of the farm was judged to be
important since farmers who inherited coffee fields had
different knowledge of the coffee productivity enhance-
ment from those who planted their coffee fields them-
selves. For example, farmers who made their own plan-
tations are also those who planted coffee colonel varie-
ties that they personally went to buy from agricultural
research institutes that are involv ed in breeding of coffee
for higher yield and resistance to diseases. Also farmers
who earned more cash from coffee sales were suspected
to have general knowledge of pollination compared to
those who do not consider coffee farming as a lucrative
business. It was also considered that believing th at main-
taining a significant proportion (>20% of total field) or
protecting natural and semi-natural habitats (hedgerows,
fallows, forests, etc.) in the vicinity of coffee fields can
contribute to coffee yield increase was an importan t fac-
tor to influence knowledge of pollinatio n and care about
pollination serv ices.
The above listed (Table 4) variables were tested for
their significant effects under multiple logistic regression
models in Minitab15 English version. Significant factors
(P < 0.05) likely influencing knowledge of pollination
by interviewed small scale coffee growers are presented
in Table 5.
It would be expected that respondents who were aged
(50 - 70 years) or those who had acquired basic educa-
tion (primary and or secondary education) to be more
likely to know the world pollination. Surprisingly, re-
spondents who had past several years (>15 years) grow-
ing coffee and those who established themselves their
coffee plantations or and those who had regular contact
with extension services were statistically (P < 0.01)
likely to explain what pollination meant (Table 5).
These findings confirmed the fact that extension services
were well equipped with pollination information such as
they could be able to pass it to farmers. Advocating for
management of pollination serv ices for crop prod uctivity
enhancement should preferably be addressed by taking
into consideration th e contribution of extension serv ices.
Also extension services should target aged (50 - 70
years), educated and adult farmers when delivering key
messages related to pollination services con servation for
coffee productivity enhance ment.
The above listed (described) variables were tested for
their significant effects under multiple logistic.
4.1. Perceptions of Value of Ecosystem
Services Delivered in Farmlands
In this study a difference in environmental attitudes
between males and female respondents was observed.
Respondents showed a high degree of awareness and
Table 5. Binary logistic multiple regression showing the relationship between the knowledge of pollination (two values for the re-
sponse: 1 = farmers with some vague information, 2 = farmers with no information at all of what pollination means) versus (re-
gressed on) on various 12 factors (predictors) listed in Table 4.
Logit regression values o f factors determining respondents knowledge of coffee pollination in central Uganda
Predictors Coef SE Coef Z P
Constant –4.68429 0.751583 –6.23 0.000
1. Age of the farmer 1.27765 0.761506 1.68 0.093
2. Gender of the respondent 0.0000 0.0000
3 .Years of coffee farming 1.92975 0.713664 2.70 0.007
4 .Regular contact with extension services 3.20043 0.826989 3.87 0.000
5. Differentiating honeybees from wild bees 0.0000 0.0000
6. Differentiating a wild bee from a pest 0.0000 0.0000
7. Acquired basic primary and or seco n da ry education 0.0000 0.0000
8. Mode of acquisiti o n of the coffee field 2.52434 0.606878 4.16 0.000
9. Source of household income 0.0000 0.0000
10. Growing cash crop requiring han d pollination 0.0000 0.0000
11. Size of the coffee farm 0.0000 0.0000
12. Maintaining semi-natural habi tats in vicinity of fields 0.0000 0.0000
Log-Likelihood = – 52.417; G = 116.748, df = 4, P-Value = 0.000, R2 = 0.56
T. Munyuli / Agricultural Science 2 (2011) 318-333
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sensitivity regarding to some ecosystem services deliv-
ered in the coffee-banana farming systems. The majority
of the respondents felt and agreed that some ecosystem
services and functions were important in their crop pro-
duction systems.
Compared to males, female respondents showed the
acceptance of soil fertility restoration concept as a basic
component of coffee production enhancement in central
Uganda. Regarding male respondents’ attitude about
micro-organism services, 70% agreed micro-organisms
had no positive effects on soil fertility. Few male re-
spondents knew exactly the role played by micro-or-
ganisms in soil fertility replenishment, even when they
exactly knew the details of agroforstry trees in increas-
ing soil fertility. The lack of awareness of the role played
by micro-organisms by males may due to the fact that
such knowledge was not transmitted to them by their
grand parents. Most indigenous knowledge bout soil is
acquired traditionally or by experience. This observation
(low knowledge of the role played by micro-organisms
in soil fertility) indicated the need for more training and
exposure of farmers on technical aspects related on soil
fertility enhancement.
In this study, it was observed that farmers had a fa-
vorable attitude towards increasing on-farm trees cover
based on indigenous trees. Farmers also recognized the
need for planting trees to provide shade to coffee. A
greater majority of the respondents agreed that shading
coffee can increase coffee yield although males had a
positive attitude of shading regime compared to female
respondents. While majority of males farmers acknowl-
edge the va lue of shading trees for coffee yield incre ase,
female farmers were of opinions that growing shading
trees along aside coffee plantations does not necessarily
increase coffee yield at all. On the contrast, males had a
contemporary view of shading coffee, they valued the
shading regime of increasing coffee yield and associated
crops since they agreed that shade contributed to in-
crease coffee yield by at least 10% - 35% [2]. Therefore,
planting shading trees alongside coffee plantations had
positive attitudes about the value of the service for cof-
Female respondents further strongly agreed that both
planting trees and maintaining high fertility of soils
could increase significantly coffee yield. The difference
between males and females in the effects of shading re-
gimes on coffee crop yield increase may be due to the
gender segregation in labour for different activities re-
lated to coffee farm management. Coffee is generally a
“male crop.” Women are mainly involved in coffee berry
harvests and coffee seed drying. Hence women have
little time to invest and und erstand factors that may help
in boosting coffee.
The implication of these observations (difference in
knowledge of the effect of shading regime on coffee
yield) is that policy makers and extension services
agents should put more emphasis on the importance of
shading coffee to increase the yield. It is important that
extension services raise the level of knowledge of both
males and females about the different tree species to be
planted to provide shade to coffee and associated crops.
Shade contribute to the increment of coffee yield by fa-
voring several other factors directly involved in yield
increase such as attracting a diverse and rich bee fauna.
Also, it has been evidenced that coffee plantations
grown under good shading regime attract efficient polli-
nator species. Most social bees (stingless bees) forage
better and deliver pollination services to coffee trees
located in farms with at least 10% to 50% shade cover
It this study, a variety of beliefs about value of differ-
ent pollination services delivered in farmlands among
male and female respondents was observed. For example,
male participants had strong agreement regarding the
importance of rain (not pollination) in coffee production
boosting. Most respondents disagreed that pollinators
were important for coffee fruit set and yield increase,
although young farmers remained neutral about this is-
sue. This observation for strengthening information de-
livery by extension services about which crops rely on
pollinators to set fruit seeds and what to do to maintain
pollinators nearby fields.
Regarding the contribution of birds and bats to coffee
pollination, it was observed in this study that most re-
spondents disagreed that these seed dispersal agents
would enhance and contribute to coffee fruit set. Farm-
ers perceived that sunbirds and bats were of no value for
coffee production in Uganda. However, most farmers
agreed that honey bees could contribute to coffee yield.
The lack of knowledge of role played by bats and birds
in pollination was expected since farmers have no inter-
ests in observing the benefits these animals bring on
farms. In most cases, birds are perceived by farmers as
crop pests in Uganda. The lack of knowledge of the
beneficial services from bats and bats calls for increasing
education of farmers about identification, management
and conservation of seed dispersal agents and related
ecosystem services agents (agro-ecosystem engineers)
To summarize, rainfalls, soil fertility and shading re-
gimes were hereby identified as accepted by most farm-
ers as key concepts in natural resources management for
coffee production boosting although other factors may
be important such as pollination. Such observation and
attitudes of farmers are normal in the tropics. In fact, the
tropical environmental of Sub-Saharan Africa, most
farmers present significant differences in economic, so-
T. Munyuli / Agricultural Science 2 (2011) 318-333
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/AS/
cial and environmental attitudes ([2] and such situation
has implication in the management of environmental
services for crop yield stability, income generation and
livelihood improvements. Policy makers and extension
services need to develop strategies to increase the
knowledge among farmers of the role and value of dif-
ferent ecosystem services in crop productivity enhance-
ment including coffee.
4.2. Farmers’ Knowledge of Pollinators’
Importance for Coffee Yield Increase
In this study, it was hypoth esized that small scale cof-
fee growers were not aware of the importance of polli-
nators for co ffee production.
The results confirmed the hypothesis. In fact it was
observed that more than 90% of small-scale farmers
were not aware of the value of pollination services to
coffee and to other crops they grow. Similar observations
were highlighted by Kasina et al. [15] who observed that
most farmers in Kakamega region (Western Kenya) were
not aware of the importance of pollination for crop pro-
Findings from the surveys highlighted the fact that
many farmers lump pollinators together with others in-
sect pests, and do not explicitly manage their farms to
conserve them, although pollinators substantially con-
tribute to coffee yield increase at no direct cost to the
Knowledge of the role o f pollinato rs in coffee produc-
tion remains poor in central Uganda. Farmers have very
limited knowledge on pollination and pollinators; they
often take pollinators for granted. Most farmers said
“these insects are just there, they are part of creation and
nature but they do not need to do something to protect
them because these insects will always be there”. Farm-
ers said they did not need to care about these small in-
sects seen visiting coffee flowers, because they think
these small insects are just there resting but they are not
harmful neither beneficial to coffee flowers. Most farm-
ers believed that the presence or absence of these insects
on coffee flowers does not stop coffee to set fruit. Also
farmers believe that coffee fruit set depends largely on
shade, fertility and moisture levels and on control of
pests and diseases. Farmers who sprayed herbicides to
control weeds did not believe that herbicides had nega-
tive impact on bees. Previous studies highlighted the fact
that small scale farmers (average yield: 600 - 2400
kg/ha/year) growing coffee (shading regime: 10% - 70%)
with a moderated plant density (450 - 1567 trees/ha)
used on average 3 to 10 liters of herbicides ha/year [2].
This amount is a high compared to what is recom-
mended (0.5 to 1.5 ha/year in Uganda) and it is index to
predict at which level pollinators are exposed to herbi-
cides in central Uganda, particularly in regions where
farmers are interested in using herbicides to control
weeds instead of hand-weeding [2]. The reason for
which some farmers preferred using herbicide that hand-
hoe weeding were not known but probably this could be
attributed to the type of extension services they receive .
The major contingent of coffee flower pollinators be-
longed to the Apoidea group. Other prominent floral
visitors comprise species of Diptera, Lepidoptera and
Coleoptera. Neither the dependent nor the famous floral
visitors are well known by small-scale coffee growers.
In fact, coffee is reliant to wild bees but farmers are not
aware of the role played by these wild bees. Similarly,
butterflies are observed flying within coffee trees but
farmers believe they are doing nothing (harmful or bene-
ficial) to coffee flowers. In fact respondents indicated
that honeybee was a frequent visitor of coffee; they were
also able to identify and recognize butterflies as vagrant
species in the field; however, no farmer could identify
how beneficial butterflies may be for coffee in central
Uganda. In contrast, farmers know some butterfly spe-
cies as pests of some crop species like Ipomoea batatus.
This finding suggest that efforts should be but in place
by extension services to educate small-scale farmers to
appreciate and know different pollinating agents of their
important crops like coffee. Extension services should
work hard to increase appreciation of the beneficial as-
pects of some on-farm based animals like butterflies to
increase the involvement and commitment of farmers in
the conservation of on-farm biodiversity for livelihood
improvements in rural areas.
Farmers were not capable of distinguishing different
stingless bee species that occur in their area. Farmers
were also not aware that stingless bees played significant
role for coffee to produce higher and quality yields. The
only bee species that was recognized by farmers was
honeybee although majority of farmers perceived that
honeybees were just there but their presence or absence
could not influence coffee fruit set. Some farmers be-
lieved that honeybees collect nectar from coffee but they
are not involved in coffee reproduction process.
Field observations and surveys indicated that the
overall basic knowledge by farmers of eusocial bees (A.
mellifera, Hypotrigona gribodoi and Axestotrigona fer-
ruginea) that occur in coffee fields was mainly related to
their continued utilization for honey (from honeybees
and stingless bees) and other hive products. Cultural
value (in terms of utility) plays a significant role in folk
knowledge of Apoidea communities by farmers. For
example, in Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Ghana,
Kenya, etc farmers know different bee species in the
Meliponini group [9]. They also know nesting sites (and
structures) of different meliponini bees. Some have de-
veloped advanced traditional methods for rearing these
T. Munyuli / Agricultural Science 2 (2011) 318-333
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species for the production of honey. Hence, meliponi-
culture [16] as a lucrative activity for farmers need to be
promoted worldwide based on indigenous knowledge of
local communities not only for providing income from
sale of hive products (honey) but also as a reliable
source of pollination of crops su ch as coffee, particularly
in over-cultivated regions where nesting sites have been
degraded in disfavor of establishment of wild ground
nesting bee communities that are important crop polli-
nators in the tropics.
Knowledge of pollination is expected from most
farmers of central Uganda. However, it seems that the
knowledge does not depend on the level of education
and more particularly on the age. Central Uganda is in-
habited by people of “Bagan da” ethnic group . In Ugand a,
the level of knowledge of pollination seems to be asso-
ciated with the tribe and the agro-ecological zone. While
Baganda people have little knowledge of pollination
(probably because they live on relatively fertile land
where most of crops can yield with less inputs), human
communities living in most other ecological zones of
Uganda have a good knowledge of pollination. In fact,
during a study conducted in western part of Uganda
(Munyuli 2011, unpublished data), it was realized that
communities (Bakiga, Bafumbira and Batwa) living in
the mountainous region bordering Bwindi Impenetrable
forest and Mgahinga Gorilla forest national parks were
aware of the value pollinators. Most farmers interviewed
from that region new how to manage their lands to care
for pollinators (wild and managed bees). Farmers from
that region had 5 to 15 beehives each while in central
Uganda few farmers (<20% - 30%) own beehives. Bee-
keeping is not a common farming practice in central
Uganda whereas in western part of the region, it is one
of the lucrative activities providing income to farmers.
Hence, knowledge of pollination by bees is advanced in
west part of the country.
Additionally Baganda people were incapable of dif-
ferentiating bees from other insects. Batwa people had
local names for different species of stingless bees [17].
Different stingless bee species (Ebihura in batwa lan-
guage) have distinct names according to Batwa nomen-
clature: Maranga (Hypotrigoa gribodoi), Obwiza (Meli-
ponula ferruginea), Obugashu (Meliponula bocandei),
Obuzagali (Meliponula lendliana) and Obuganza (Ple-
beina hildebandti). It was there after assumed that the
high level of knowledge pollinator species and pollina-
tion by human communities from western part of
Uganda may be linked to the fact that their agricultural
systems is largely depending on inputs including polli-
nation and fertilizers. Overall, the increase in level of
knowledge of pollination by farmers seems following a
gradient from the edge of Lake Victoria to Western part
of the country.
Differences in perceptions and knowledge of pollina-
tion constitute a major obstacle in farmer–researcher
cooperation and collaboration which is necessary for
sustainable management of pollination services in rural
The aim of this study was to understand knowledge
and perceptions of the importance of pollinators and
pollination services in coffee production. Farmers’ per-
ceptions were investigated in order to harness their
knowledge in the participatory development of conser-
vation strategies of pollination services. Perception of
pollination involved both in scientific and spiritual con-
ceptual frameworks were identified. Findings indicated
that farmers’ awareness of pollinator importance in cof-
fee yield increase was extremely low and gender biased
with males having high knowledge than females.
One of the greatest challenges for the conservation of
Apoidea fauna in farmlands of central Uganda is the
great ignorance of the role played by bees in crop pro-
duction enhancement including coffee. Ironically, small
scale farmers in central Uganda are involved in all ac-
tivities related to the destruction and conservation of
natural resources. Obviously, farmers can play signifi-
cant role in the conservation of bees if they are made
aware of the importance of bees to the improvement of
their livelihood and sustainability of their agricultural
African farmers are aware of insects as pests but not
as important factor in the agricultural productivity. Bees
are taken for granted by farmers, just like the air and the
light. However, the “free pollination service” provided
by “God” to human survival is irreplaceable and it will
be difficult for scientists to find a technology that can
replace it in the nature.
In Uganda, many people and farmers believe that if
there is a yield loss, it will be attributed to anything but
not to pollination deficit. However, conservation of pol-
linators is a key for sustainable agriculture development
in Africa. Much of crops grown in Africa owe their pro-
duction to bee pollination activities. African green revo-
lution will not work without paying great attention to
pollinators in the plant breeding programs (Dr Muo
Kasina, Personal communication).
Findings from this study also indicated that, that more
than 90% of the farmers were not aware of the role
played by bees in the increase of coffee yield. As it was
also observed in Kenya [12,15], small-scale farmers in
central Uganda were not willing to manage their lands to
protect pollinator s because not only that they were igno-
rant, but, they also considered pollination as an unsolic-
T. Munyuli / Agricultural Science 2 (2011) 318-333
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/AS/
ited “free service”, or as a “public good”. Most farmers
considered that coffee could still produce with or with-
out receiving visits from bees. In contrast to the views
and perceptions of the farmers, pollination experiments
conducted from 30 coffees showed that the economic
value of pollination services delivered to coffee ap-
proximated US $ 650/ha/year on average [2]. At the na-
tional level, the to tal economic value of coffee produced
in Uganda is on average of US$214 million from half
million hectares dedicated to coffee production, and ap-
proximately 60% (US $ 149 million) of this economic
value is attributable to pollination services delivered by
bees to coffee in Uganda [2]. This is the evidence that
coffee needed pollinators in central Uganda. Crop polli-
nation by bees and other animals is an essential ecosys-
tem service in Uganda. At the national scale, pollination
services may have been estimated to be equivalent of
>16% - 25% of the market value of agricultural produc-
Few small-scale coffee growers were selected and in-
vited to short discussions of whether bees increase cof-
fee yield or not. As previously highlighted, majority of
these farmers said they do not think bees are important
for coffee fruit set. Consequently, coffee trees were se-
lected and bagged to exclude pollinators. Farmers were
asked to take care of the pollination experiments. The
un-bagging process (Plate 1) was run in their presence
during the first blooming season (July-August 2007)
when farmers witnessed that bagged flowers had no fruit
whereas un-bagged flowers that were regularly visited
by bees did set fruits.
During experiments conducted in November-De-
cember 2007 in the same coffee fields, the researcher
found that farmers were now fencing (using traditional
materials and native trees) termite mounds to protect
stingless bees nesting in termite mounds (Plate 2) be-
Plate 1. On-farm coffee pollination experiment showing un-
bagged and bagged coffee branches.
Plate 2. Termite mounds being protected by farmers to favour
bees pollinating crops nearby.
cause they were told during the first blooming season
(July-August 2007) by the researcher that these features
(termite mounds) were used as habitats by various wild
bees such as meliponini bees that pollinate their crops.
When the researcher was setting experiments during the
second blooming period, farmers were now asking for
information about wild bees, where they live and what
they eat and how to protect them in order to increase
coffee yield.
In this study it was found that pollination knowledge
was shaped by a wide range of social, cultural, educa-
tional and individual attitudinal characteristics of re-
spondents. It was also found that age, level of education,
gender, general knowledge of importance of protecting
natural and semi-natur al habitats in the vicinity of coffee
fields for coffee yield increase played no important role
on pollination knowledge by interviewed farmers. Con-
trastingly, the number of years passed farming coffee or
the degree of contact with extension services were iden-
tified in the logistic model as most striking factors. In
other words, knowledge of pollination by farmers was
likely to occur in areas where they had access to regular
extension service advices. Also, farmers who inherited
their plantations and those who planted themselves their
plantations were likely to know the word pollination.
Therefore, it was recommended that these few factors
T. Munyuli / Agricultural Science 2 (2011) 318-333
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/AS/
that were identified, be taken into consideration to be
successful during awareness campaigns aiming at raising
farmers’ knowledge of the importance of conserving
pollinators for coffee yield increase.
Overall, it is important to increase the awaren ess of all
small-scale coffee producers of the importance of con-
serving pollinators within the farm landscape to increase
coffee production. The role of extension services was
found to significantly improve respondents’ knowledge
of pollination, and hence the extension service institu-
tions of Uganda should increase and be empowered.
This will help in enhancing information provision to the
farmers through, e.g., fr equent visits, making bulletin s or
using other channels such as radio or television. World
wide, it has been observed that extension services have a
significant impact on the learning process of farmers.
There is also a need for extension services to inform
farmers about the diversity and management of bee-food
plants in the farm-landscape. There is a need to revise
and incorporate in the school curriculum new concepts
such as pollination such as young people; especially
those leaving in rural areas are informed about the im-
portance of pollinators and pollination services.
Understanding farmers’ perceptions and motivations
is of significant importance in relation to environmental
services conservation. This can allow for gaining insight
into the complex systemic interactions between natural
processes, management policies, and local people de-
pending on the environmental services (or resources).
Ecosystem services such as pollinatio n service are aspect
of the environment that relate closely to human liveli-
hoods and that can be used to convince the public that
biodiversity is not only wild animals that may damage
their crops, but also creatures that live on their farms and
that can help to sustain crop production. Further public
awareness programs on ecosystem services such as pol-
lination are highly needed While aiming at understand
how farmers view the contribution of pollinators coffee
yield, most farmers were saying that “either bees visit or
not coffee flowers, fruit will still come provided that
rains is here”. The reasons behind these thinking were
not given. Although farmers depend on farming incomes
from coffee, the recorded opinions of most farmers were
that there was no need to care for the service. However,
pollination service remain critical to all farmers since
pollination is directly required for most crop s they grow.
If the ecosystem surrounding farmlands is healthy farm-
ers will usually receive adequate pollination. Therefore,
they need to raise their awareness about the value of
investing in the conservation of this vital service. It is
important to make farmers to be aware of that the work
of bees is irreplaceable, hence the need for them to get
involved in farming practices that are important in con-
serving service provided by pollin ato rs to cash crops lik e
Raising the awaren ess of bees and pollinators for cof-
fee production is important in Uganda since the govern-
ment of Uganda earn several millions per annum from
exports and sales of coffee beans. Therefore, policy
aiming at improving coffee yield through management
and conservation of pollination services, should advo-
cate for increase of awareness and knowledge of polli-
nators (their natural history, their food and habitats re-
quirements, their activities, behaviour, interaction with
crops) and their importance for crop productivity en-
hancement. Policy and incentives should be put in place
to increase the adoption and implementation by farmers
of pollinator-friendly farming practices. This call for
educational campaigns to advise farmers on best farm
management options for in field maintenance and in-
crease of diversity and density of bees. For example,
farmers should be informed on better moment for utiliz-
ing pesticides if they need to apply such as their applica-
tion do not erode bee fauna.
There is a need to develop and disseminate (scale-up)
field, habitat and landscape management strategies that
are pollinator-friendly to guarantee nesting areas, floral
resources availability for coffee pollinators in central
Uganda. Among other pollinator-friendly farming prac-
tices is the reduction or full avoidance of the use of pes-
ticides while managing pests during main blooming pe-
riods of coffee.
It is there recommended to small-scale coffee farmers
from central Uganda to adopt and preserve at least 20%
of their land uncultivated (un-cropped areas) as pollina-
tor reservoir to make coffee production system remain
ecologically and economically sound and viable on a
long-term basis. There is a need for local commun ities to
get involved in sustainable management of semi-natural
and natural habitats on farm landscapes to protect polli-
nators. Appropriate management of un-cropped areas to
encourage wild pollinators may prove to be a cost-ef-
fective means of maximizing crop yield. With land
shortage, it is recommended to farmers to adopt multi-
purpose agroforestry systems that take into account the
needs and requirements of pollinators in terms of nesting
and floral resources offered by agroforestry tree species
found on-farm. Forest remnant tree species and other
indigenous tree species found on-farm offer several
nesting opportunities to bees. Farmers should adopt
farming practices that promote the ecological intensifi-
cation of agricultural production rather than promoting
chemical intensification of crop production. Therefore,
avoiding the destruction of stamps, wooden materials
and eradication of these remnant tree species in the land-
scape should be avoided by farmers. Instead, it is rec-
T. Munyuli / Agricultural Science 2 (2011) 318-333
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. http://www.scirp.org/journal/AS/
ommended to increase the area covered by on-farm trees
and semi-natural habitats without jeopardizing the land
Openly accessible at
I am very grateful to Darwin Initiative (Defra, UK; project reference:
14 - 032; project title: Conserving biodiversity in modernized farm
landscapes in Uganda) for funding a project that supported this study
in Uganda. Mr. Maurice Mutabazi (research assistant) is acknowledged
for his assistance in the field. All my gratitude to Dr Juliet Vickery, Dr
Phil Atkinson, Prof Derek Pomeroy (scientific advisors and project
coordinators) and to both Dr Simon Potts and Professor Philip Nyeko
(scientific supervisors of the work). The warm and kind collaboration
of other project staffs is very acknowledged, mainly Geoffrey Akule,
Achillis Byaruhanga and David Mushabe (Nature Uganda), Annet
Nakeyune and Olivia Nantaba (Uganda wildlife Society) and Professor
Frank Kansiime (Deputy Principal of the college of agriculture and
environmental sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda).
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