Journal of Life Science and Biomedicine  
J Life Sci Biomed, 8(4): 61-68, 2018  
ISSN 2251-9939  
A Study on the Composition, Agro Ecosystem Use and  
Socio Economic Role of Homegarden in Selected Kebeles  
of Haramaya District, Oromia Regional State, Eastern  
Arayaselassie A. S.  
Haramaya University, College of Agriculture and Environmental Science, School of Animal and Range Sciences, P.O.  
Box 138, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia  
Corresponding author’s Email:  
Original Article  
PII: S225199391800010-8  
Homegardens believed to be more diverse and provide multiple services for household than  
other mono cropping system and this is due to the combination of crops, trees and livestock.  
The study focused on the composition, structure of homegarden, diversity of plant species  
and contribution of homegarden to household food security, socio-economic importance.  
From the total of twenty kebeles, Gode, Damota, Tennike and Finkille kebeles were selected  
using lottery method. In a reconnaissance survey made in the kebeles from October 10-25  
2016 four sites were selected purposively. Totally 80 households which are home garden users  
were selected for this study. Socio-economic data and potential economic and agro-ecosystem  
role of home garden agro forestry were collected by using structured questionnaire, focus  
group discussion and semi structured interview. The family size of respondents ranges from  
Rec. 30 Oct. 2017  
Acc. 10 May 2018  
Rev. 11 June 2018  
Pub. 25 July 2018  
Agro Forestry,  
Household Food Security,  
2-12. There is a strong correlation between the farm land holding and the size of the  
homegarden. Nine tree species were identified in the study area. The homegardens were  
covered with fruits and other plants before 20 years ago but know there is complete change  
on the vegetation cover. The dominant species in the area is chat (Catha edulis). The regression  
analysis made to identify determination of annual income showed that income from home  
garden and numbers of species in the home garden have strong correlation with annual  
income at P<0.05. Home garden agro forestry significantly at P<0.05 improved the farmer’s  
cash income. With insignificant garden size; home garden practice provides good socio-  
economical and agro-ecological service for the farmers which have higher implication for  
climate change adaptation and family level food security.  
Agro-Ecological Role  
Home garden agro forestry has been documented as an important source of food and nutritional security  
throughout the world [1]. Home gardening is an ancient and widespread practice all over the world which is  
found both rural and urban areas. It is predominantly taken as small scale subsistence agricultural system [2]. It  
is being practice in Asia, Africa and Latin America predominantly which serves the society for economic and  
immediate food source [3]. Home garden play important role in ecological and socio ecological system  
comprising domestic plants and crops [4]. Home gardens are known for their structural complexity and  
diversity of crops and plant species [3].  
Home garden are one of the major practice known by the local community for their ecological sustainability  
and diversification of livelihood system creation [5]. The socio economic and agro economic roles includes wide  
range of products such as: firewood, fodder spices, medicinal plants and ornaments including food [6,7]. It is also  
belived that home garden contribute ecological and conservation functions like formation and maintenance of  
soil structure, retention of soil moisture and recycling of nutrients that help in mitigating climate change [8].  
The land use system involves management of multipurpose trees and annual and perennial agricultural crops  
within compound of individual house [9].  
In Ethiopia, where most of the population is farmer (80%) which depends on agriculture for their livelihoods  
and contributes 42-45% of the total GDP of the country [10]. Haramaya district is one of the districts found in  
Eastern HarargheOromia regional state and the area is known for its productivity. The local communities in the  
study area are farmers and employed workers of different NGOs and government offices even if they are  
employed they practice home gardening in their home. In Haramaya district, home gardening mostly practiced  
through combination of Chat (chat aduls) with different crop species such as: Sorghum (Sorghumbycolour), maize  
(zea maize) and variety of fruit types. Chat is widely cultivated cash crop which is used as immediate source of  
income and. The average monthly income of the family practice chat cultivation ranges from 50birr to 533birr  
[11]. The study aimed at identifying the composition, agro ecosystem use and socio economic role of home  
garden in the district.  
Description of the study area  
Location. Haramaya district is part of Ethiopian highland and lies in the semi-arid tropical belt of eastern  
Hararghe zone. The Woreda is bordered on south by Kurfachelle, on west by Kersa, on the north by Dire Dawa,  
on the east by Kombolcha and on the south east by Harar regional state. The district has the total area of 550  
km2and comprises three smaller towns; namely Haramaya (the main town), Adele and Bate. In addition, there  
are 25 rural kebelesin the district. Haramaya district is noted for its intensive agricultural practices and  
cropping system Figure 1. 1Its astronomical location lies roughly between 90 201- 90 351 North latitude and 410  
511- 420- 041 East longitude.  
Figure 1. Map of the study area  
Total population of district is about 271,018; of whom 138282 are male and 132736 are females. 50,032  
populations are urban dwellers and the remaining are rural dwellers. Area of the district is about  
550.sq.kilometers. The largest ethnic groups are Oromo (96.04%) and Amhara (3.12%). All others ethnic groups  
made up of 0.84% of the population. The first language spoken in district is Afan Oromo about 95% and 4.44% is  
spoke Amharic and remaining 0.56% spoke other languages. The majority of inhabitants are Muslims about  
95.82% and remaining 3.71% are orthodox and other religious followers [11].  
Topography of the district is generally characterized by gentle slope. Altitude of the district is range from  
1400-2340 meters above sea level. The highest point places in the district are Dof and Jaldo. 60.1% of land are  
cultivatable, 2.3% are pasture land, 1.5% are forest and 36.1% are degraded or unusable (Haramaya Agriculture  
and Rural Development office, 2015).  
Types of vegetation and fruit in study area  
Studied garden were growing and cultivating plants as parts of horticulture and others. These include:  
carrot (Daucuscarota), coffee (Coffeaaraabica), maize (Zea mays), mango (Mangiferaindica), orange (Citrus sinesis),  
onion (Allium cepa), pea (Pisumsativum), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and others. For fencing purpose Bargemoadii  
(Eucalyptus camaldulensis), Wedessaa (Cordiaafricana) and Bargemodemaa (Eucalyptus globulus) were exhibited in  
the area. Shrubs found in the area include Lanatanacamara, (Yewefkolo) which is an invasive exotic species  
found in the area and farmers used it for fencing their garden. These are some of the major species found in the  
locality (Haramaya Agriculture and Rural Development office, 2015).  
Climatically, the district falls within midland and lowland agro ecological zone. The mean annual  
temperature is about 22°c with maximum temperature about 31°c and minimum temperature about 12°c. The  
mean annual rain fall ranges between 700-1350mm³ (National Metrology Agency NMA2015) (Figure 2).  
Based on the agro-climatologically classification, Haramayaworeda has WoinaDega (wet and cool, 70%) and  
Kolla (dry and hot 30%) areas. Haramaya district lies between 1900 to 2450 m.a.s.l. These altitudinal ranges gave  
the district Dega5 and Woinadega6 agro-ecological zones. The mean annual rainfall is 74.1mm, with mean  
annual temperature of 16.90c. The dry season, with relatively less than 30 mm of rain fall per month, extends  
from October to February. The main autumn rain occurs from September to November while the smaller spring  
rain occurs from March to May.  
Figure 2. Climate condition of study area  
Sampling Method  
For the study probability sampling method was employed. Among 25 kebeles in the district four Kebeles  
were selected using lottery method to give each kebele a chance to be included. The selected kebeles were Gode,  
Damota, Tennike and Finkille. In a reconnaissance survey made in the kebeles from October 10-25 2016 a  
potential village from each kebele was identified purposively. In this study, key informants and households were  
involved to assess importance of homegarden for socio economic and to determine the composition of  
homegarden. Key informants for the study were identified on the basis of number of years stayed in the area  
(individuals who concurred a land for more than 20 years). This was done due to the fact that the research also  
examines the role of homegarden for ecological maintenance also to determine the pats ecosystem. The key  
informant selection was adopted from Ewuketu Linger [12], accordingly during village reconnaissance, six  
farmers were randomly asked. Out of 24 candidates of key informants the six top ranking were selected at each  
village. Finally, from village 20 households were picked randomly making 20 kebele and 80 key informants for  
the entire study.  
Data collection method  
Based on information from interview of key informants, questionnaires were designed to collect data on the  
role of home gardens for socio-economic and agro-ecosystem maintenance and associated implication were also  
collected. In addition key informants were also made to respond about the condition which was 20 years ago, 10  
years ago and current states of the home garden. The local community was also engaged in FGD to isolate the  
major socio economic benefits of home garden and to create an image of the area of 20 years back and 10 years  
Data Analysis Method  
The data which was collected from key informant’s interview and from focused group discussions was  
analysis by simple descriptive statistics (e.g. percentage, frequency, tables and graphs). Home garden are  
different in their structure direction of occurrence and vegetation type and use in each local community. The  
analysis follows as procedure that each home garden data was collected by considering these facts. The  
quantitative data which was obtained from the closed ended items were coded and subjected to SPSS version 24  
for further analysis of data. Regression analysis was made to identify the annual income from home garden and  
numbers of species in the home garden.  
Socio-economic characteristics of the respondents  
Age structure of respondents. The age category of the respondents were classified into three categories;  
young age (<18 years old), adult age (19-50 years old) and old age (>50 years old). It is revealed that the majority  
of the respondents were in the middle age category 60 (75%). This finding is adequate to the national statistics  
indicating that the selected homesteads were typical homestead of the country (Table 1). In this study 80  
participating households, 64 (80%) were male headed whereas the remaining 16 (20%) were female headed. The  
number of male households is greater than that of female households so the households in the study are more  
Family Size  
Family size of the respondents ranged from 2 to 12 and classified in to three categories as small (2-4  
members), medium (5-10 members), and large (more than 10 members). Data indicates that 75 (60%) of the  
respondents were in medium size family which was also a representative of typical family size in eastern  
Ethiopia. It is very common to live together with parents and with brothers and sisters and sometime with  
relatives. The education level of the households shows that 48 (60%) were illiterates where they don’t read or  
write, whereas 16 (20%) of them were literates, that can read and write. The rest of the respondents 12 (15%) of  
them finished primary school education and 2 (2.5 %) respondents each were with secondary education and  
TVET educational background respectively (Table 2).  
Table 1. Age structure of respondents  
<18 years old  
>50 years old  
Table 2. Educational level of respondents  
Educational level  
Read and write  
Primary education  
Secondary education  
Home garden size  
In the study area different size of homegardens were reported for simplicity the homegarden were  
categorized in to three groups. The scale was adopted from Asfaw and Woldu [13]. Which is 0.1-1.5 hectare small  
land holders, 1.6-3 hectare medium size land holders and above 3.5 ha large size land holders. The study reviled  
that the size of the home garden ranges from 0.2-0.5 hectare in Gode, 0.3-0.5 hectare in Damota, 0.1-0.4 hectare  
in Tinike and 0.2-0.5 ha in Finkele. As it is shown the size of the home gardens in each sample kebele is deferent  
except Gode and Fenekele. Largest home garden size exhibited in Damotakebele were the home garden ranges  
from 0.3 up to 0.5 (Table 3). The average size of homegarden was found to be different within each land  
categories and village. The category of farm yard was categorized in to three parts as larger, medium and small  
land holding. The average size of land holding for larger farm yard was 3.548 ha while the land holding for  
medium and small farm category were 1.16and 0.81 ha respectively. On the other hand, the average homestead  
size for large category was 0.43 ha whereas the medium and small categories were 0.25and 0.1 ha respectively.  
Strong correlation (r= 0.8124) was observed between the farm yard of farmers and the size of homegarden.  
As the data indicates in table 4 among the total of 80 household respondents70 (87.5%) households produce  
cereals whereas 10 (12.5%) of them are producing crop through integrated perennial trees in their gardens. In  
case of the location and arrangement of the homegardens the data show that the spatial arrangement is  
variable at the study site. About 53 (67%) of the home garden are located on the backyard 17(21%) located on the  
side homestead and 12% are located on the front side. Among studied home garden 57(71%) were partially  
fenced, 20 (25%) were fenced and 3 (4%) were not fenced.  
The nine tree species which were recorded and identified in the study area are: buna (coffee arabica),  
Gaattiraa (cupressuslusitanica) Bargemoadii (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), waddeesa (Cordiaafricana), Burtukaana  
(citrus sinesis), Mangoo (Mangiferaindica), Papaya (Carica Papaya), Jankaraandaa (Jacaranda mimosifolia),  
Bargemodima (Eucalyptus globulus) and chat (Catha edulis). The most dominant tree species were mango  
(Mangiferaindica), papaya (Carica Papaya), chat (Catha edulis), Bargemoadii (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) and  
Bargemodimaa (Eucalyptus globulus) in the contrary less common species were Gattiraa (cupressuslusitanica),  
Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) and orange (citrus sinesis).  
Livestock and homegarden relation  
Number of livestock reared in each kebeles varies both in type and quantity. Finkilekebele rears high  
quantity of livestock than others kebeles which is 75% sheep, 10%Goats, 7% poultry and 5% cattle and donkey 3%.  
In Gode the community rare 66% sheep, 15%Goats, 10% poultry and 9% cattle were as in Tinkekebele the  
farmer’s rare 70%sheep, 18%goats, 9% poultry, 2% cattle and 1% are donkey respectively. In Damota, 40% sheep,  
54% goats, 4% cattle and 2% donkey are respectively (Figure 3).  
Table 3. Size of home garden in hectare  
Garden size in hectare  
Table 4. Structure of home garden in the study areas  
Home garden structure  
Cereals without trees  
Use and style of  
Integrated perennial trees and crop  
Back yard  
Spatial arrangement of the  
home garden  
Front side  
States of the home garden  
Partially fenced  
Not fenced  
Figure 3. Frequencies of livestock in four kebeles  
States of home gardens  
The participants in FGD described that the establishment of home gardens goes to the time of revolution in  
Ethiopian history. The participants agreed that the land formation in the country which is during the Dergu  
regime (1974). In related to the past experience of home gardens the overall size ranges from 0.2-0.485 ha in the  
average of the four kebeles. According to the information from FGD the homegardens were covered by cereal/  
cash crops. Before 20 years, most garden were covered by sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and maize (zea mays) and  
for local use chat were planted. Ten years back, most cereal crop species were introduced soybean (Glycine max),  
pea (Pisumsativum), the coverage of Chat increased by more than half of the home garden size as compared to  
the previous year’s coverageas explained by the respondents. Currently, species like potato (solanumtubersum),  
sugarcane (saccharumofficinarum), onion (allium cepa), maize (zea Mays) sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), cabbage  
(Brassica integrifolia) and soya bean (Glycine max) were found but the farmers prioritize chat of other cereals and  
vegetables as cash crop.  
Agro ecosystem role  
Home garden plays an important role for agro ecosystem service mainly through providing raw material.  
The respondents confirm that the amount of compost produced varies due to raw material (weed, grass and  
tree leave) availability within the homegardens. From the semi structured interview 95% of respondents (n=76)  
confirm that fertility status of soil stays up to minimum of three years and maximum of four years. The  
respondents also responded that the homegardens, in addition to soil moisture conservation it’s also provide  
fuel wood source which interns lead to less farm crop residual biomass removal also less dependence on animal  
dung for fuel. The mentioned importance’s in FGD leads to the decrease in the investments of money for  
inorganic fertilizer.  
As observed, the impacts of demography on the agro-ecosystem were high because in most villages  
numbers of the family size is large. Repeated cultivation of land exhausts mineral and other important materials  
from the soil and requests the farmers for extra money to buy inorganic fertilizer. This decreases the family  
income from garden product and also trampling effects of the family on growing garden crops. In study area,  
about 81% of the farers use animal manure and 19% use compost prepared from plant residues and other use  
chemical fertilizers.  
The study reveals that fertility of garden is higher in home garden than main farm yard. The fertility of the  
lands were described with their productivity rate that the productivity of the home garden is much better than  
that of the farm land. According to the information from the questionnaire home garden are much fertile due to  
their nearness to the home where animal manures are damped and this garden were easily conserved than  
main farm yard.  
Socio-economic role  
As described by respondents in FGD, homegardens have wide socio economic roles, which includes  
production of food (both for consumption and for income generation), medicinal plants, and source for fire  
wood, fodder production and service as compost production. The farmers use both hired labors and family  
labors in their home garden and they use selected seed of different crop species that tolerate climate variability.  
Only few farmers use chemical fertilizers and most of the farmers use animal dung as result, the income  
generate is high as roughly calculated with their expenses  
The income of homegarden owners is determined by different factors. The regression analysis made to  
identify determination of annual income showed that income from home garden and numbers of species in the  
home garden have strong correlation with annual income at P<0.05 (Table 5) .This implies that the income is  
more dependent on home garden vegetation composition.  
Table 5. t value of respondents  
Std dev.  
Education level  
HG income  
No. of spp in HH  
Number of cattle  
Farm size  
Family size  
R2=32%, **significant at 5% (0.05)  
Social role of homegardens  
Number of respondents in FGD and semi structured interview confirms that having homegarden strength  
neighbors and family relationship. Household gave some home garden products like fruit, vegetable and chat to  
their relatives and neighbors at different ceremony. This increases social relationship and sharing of different  
working experience create positive relationship within the society that will help in sharing indigenous and  
other scientific knowledge.  
The practice of homegardening is serves as a source of social and economic benefit. In Haramaya district  
homegardens used as a source of income and as a means of generating good relationship with the  
neighborhood. The same result has been reported in Arifin et al. [4] in Zimbabwe homegardens user farmers.  
The practice of homegardening has been developed primarily in response to the needs for generating income  
and for fulfilling household food security. In Ethiopia most of the fruits, vegetables, and fuel wood come from  
the homesteads or marginal lands attached to or near homestead [12].The same idea was reported in the study  
area that most of the source of the fuel wood, fruit and vegetable came from the homegardens. The dominant  
trees in the area also show similar trend as Asfaw and Woldu [12] study that the cash crops are mostly found in  
the homegardens than farm yards. In addition according to Asfaw and Woldu [12] the study estimated that 3  
million ha of the homestead provided 80% of fruits and 85% of fuel wood to the urban and other society.  
Similarly the nearby community and homegarden owners’ source of vegetables, cash crops and fruits are  
homegardens of this kebeles.  
The land used for homegardens was small as compared to other areas in the country. According to Asfaw  
and Nigatu [13] survey of the homegardens, the homegardens in the other parts of the country is much bigger  
than the study area. Since the space limitation in the homestead is reflected in the land size of the homegardens,  
The T value of the study also indicates that the income is directly related to the homegardens size which is  
similarly indicated in the study by Asfaw and Nigatu [13]. Haramaya district homegardens are the source of fuel  
woods and other sources. The homegardens were also an important source of fuel wood, particularly for poor  
households, supplying from 40% to 80% of the rural need [14]. In a similar manner these homegardens are the  
sources fuel wood for the local community and the nearby urban dweller. Traditional homegarden has many  
desirable characteristics which is indicated in Tynsong and Tiwari [15]’s work which is in line with the study  
result. According to Tynsong and Tiwari [15] and Regeena [17] homegardens strengthen the social bond in a  
society through sharing knowledge and ideas. In the study area the same idea was reflected during FGD and key  
informant interview about the use of homegarden for the local community.  
Homegarden enhances livelihood of the local people by providing socio-economic, agro ecosystem and agro  
ecological roles. Advantage of homegarden to socio economic development of society was clearly seen from the  
results. In addition the immediate income is generated from the homegardens. The improvement of the  
homegarden intern helps the urban dweller and the local community to have quality of livelihood. The  
contribution of homegarden for the production of different resources food, fuel wood, medicinal plant and  
stimulant plants is high. The states of homegarden is at alarming rate, are at the verge of extinction in most of  
the areas the homegarden are turning to be mono-cropping, chat dominated homegardens due to high pricing  
of chat.  
The government and non-government organization should work jointly with local farmers in changing the  
production of items by using management technology of horticulture and agro forestry under multi-storied  
cropping system. If the family size keep looking like this homegarden will be vanished so family planning has to  
be practiced. Different trainings and demonstrations are mandatory to keep the homegardening practice in the  
villages. So the University and other stakeholders has to work together to achieve this goal.  
This work was financed by the author itself.  
Authors’ Contributions  
The author made most of the research work by itself and for collection students were participated.  
Competing interests  
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.  
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