The influence of meteorological information on smallholder farmers’ knowledge, attitude and practices in the lake Victoria basin – Uganda
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Understanding people's knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) about meteorological information (Daily, seasonal weather forecasts, advisories and warnings) can bring about important coping and adaptation to climate variability and change. This promotes agricultural production and sustains rural livelihood. Although there is an increase in the number of climate variability and change studies, there is a limited number of location-specific studies, yet is presumably the most important factor in bringing about increased awareness of climate variability and change. It is against this background that this research was taken and KAP approach employed as a conceptual framework to study not as a specific methodology. The general objective of the study was to examine the extent to which use of meteorological information influences the level of knowledge, attitude and practices of smallholder farmers towards climate change mitigation and adaptation. The survey involved face-to-face administered questionnaires as well as interview guides covering a sample size of 150 respondents and nine (9) key informative interviews in three sub counties. Chi-square test was carried out to test statistical significance particularly among the different respondents and their responses. Mann-Kendall and Sen's slope estimator were used to detect the meteorological variables' trends. A critical value of P = 0.05 and level of significance of 95% was set, and qualitative data obtained from the surveys were analyzed using content analysis. The study showed a high level (79.0%) of community awareness on climate change, the risks associated with it and how it affects productivity and thus livelihoods. Although meteorological information was widely available, only 9.0% rated the information as useful for farm operational decisions. The study revealed limited use (14.0%) and low utility value attached to meteorological information in Jinja. (15%) put it to lack of trust in weather forecasts due to missed targets or miscommunication between users and information providers; 3% had negative attitude and 82% had no idea and could not attribute it to anything. In view of the above, this study recommends improvement in meteorological information nomenclature to translate it into an increased tool useful to the community in farm productivity. It proposes training of the farming community on how to accurately interpret and employ meteorological information, formation of school and community weather awareness clubs, and integration of the indigenous knowledge of the end users into the synthesis and downscaling of weather forecasts.