The Role of Indigenous Knowledge on Use and Conservation of Wild Medicinal Food Plants in Loita Sub-county, Narok County
Kariuki, Peris M.
Onyango, Cecilia M.
Lukhoba, Catherine W.
Njoka, Jesse T.
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Aims: To evaluate the role of indigenous knowledge in the use and conservation of wild medicinal food plants in Loita sub-county, Narok County. Study Design: Stratified random sampling was used to select respondents. Place and Duration of Study: The study was conducted in Loita sub-County of Narok County in Kenya for six months. Methodology: Data was collected through a household survey, key informant interviews and focused group discussions using a semi-structured questionnaire. For the household survey, 160 households were interviewed while 10 key informants consisting of traditional healers, village elders, spiritual leader and opinion leaders were used. The focus group discussions comprised of 15 participants (8 men and 7 women). The data collected was on habitat categorisation and use, knowledge sharing and traditional conservation methods for the species. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics to generate means, frequencies and percentages. Results: Three habitat categories were identified; grasslands (Olpurkel/Ongata), bushland (oloiparag) and highland forests (osupuko) based on topography and dominant species. The forest habitat was ranked 1st as a source of water and wild medicinal food plants by both men and women and 4th (men) and 2nd (women) for dry season grazing. The grass and bushlands were considered best for grazing, cultural activities and wildlife by both genders. Additionally, the results indicated that the community named localities after dominant or unique species occurrence. The community has cultural zones with differentiated use, sacred species such as Ficus thoningii (Oreteti) and Arundinaria alpina (Oltiyani) and indigenous knowledge on sustainable use of the species. Conclusion: The indigenous knowledge on habitat classification and different uses of wild plant species has contributed to the conservation of wild medicinal food plant species in Loita. The use of dominant plant species to give names to localities can be used to reconstruct environmental history even after species are depleted.
CitationKariuki, P. M., Onyango, C. M., Lukhoba, C. W., & Njoka, J. T. (2018). The Role of Indigenous Knowledge on Use and Conservation of Wild Medicinal Food Plants in Loita Sub-county, Narok County. Asian Journal of Agricultural Extension, Economics & Sociology, 28(2), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.9734/AJAEES/2018/45032
University of Nairobi
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