Traditional Uses of Cyperus Papyrus (L) and Associated Problems at Simiyu Fringing Wetland of Lake Victoria, Mwanza region, Tanzania
A study was conducted during 1999/2000 period with the view of determining: traditional uses; associated problems; and strategies for sustainable utilization of papyrus around Simiyu wetland fringing Speke Gulf of Lake Victoria, Tanzania. It involved field observations as well as self-administered questionnaire with 23, 39, and 17 mat weavers from Bugabu, Ilungu, and Nsola villages respectively. Results showed the local Sukumas apply traditional and adopted skills for commercial and non-commercial uses of papyrus. Most uses of papyrus are similar to those reported for ancient times in Egypt and elsewhere. Mat making is the main use, where fourteen different sizes of mats are made to satisfy customer preferences. Local Sukumas adopted matting during 1970s from Wajaluo and Wanyara, and this is considered family work as alternative source of income. The main problems include drowning, bites from mosquitoes and leeches, and scares from snakes, crocodiles, and hippopotamuses as well as conflicts among papyrus users themselves, fishermen, farmers and livestock grazers.
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