Viability analysis of climate change adaptation and coping practices for agriculture productivity in Rwenzori Region, Kasese District
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A better understanding of processes that shape farmers‘ adaptation to climate change is critical to identify vulnerable entities and develop practical and well-targeted adaptation policies and practices. However, it is currently poorly understood and not clear what determines farmers‘ adaptation and how to measure it quantitatively. Little information is available on viability and effectiveness of climate change adaptation practices in south western Uganda and how they influence adoption of on-farm technologies, land management practices and the soil physical and chemical parameters. Earlier studies concentrated on climate change variability with limited attention to soil properties and other biophysical factors. This study was conducted in Kasese district-Rwenzori region to establish the viability and effectiveness of climate change coping and adaptation practices in different landscape positions. Seven sub-counties which represented the upper, middle and lower slope positions were selected for the study depending on the production seasons: household data was collected from 100 respondents with a structured questionnaire and analysed using SPSS version 17.0 and supported by key informant interviews and on-farm observation methods. Soil samples of 0-15cm and 15-30cm were collected at every landscape position where there were adaptation practices and were there was no adaptation practices. Major adaptation practices were ranked using index based approach. For each landscape position the slope was measured using the clinometer and GPS coordinates were obtained. Soil and nutrient data (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, soil pH, calcium, magnesium and sodium) were analyzed and the respective annual yields from each landscape position were collected. Other parameters measured were; soil texture and all the chemical site characterization was done with the soil auger and subjected to laboratory analysis. Results showed that SLWM (stones, terracing, agroforestry, grass bunds, cover cropping, mulch) 46 % , Expanding land, high yielding crops and intercropping, changing planting dates 31 %, Fertilizers, irrigation, new crops and changing field location 12 %, fertilizers, irrigation, new crops and changing field location 11% were the major adaptation practices. Vulnerability level (22 score), yield output (17 score), economic returns (11 score), and social cultural (3 score) were the major factors ranked by the respondents for adoption of climate change adaptation practices. The soil physical chemical properties and adaptation practices from all landscape positions varied significantly (P>0.05) however soil depth was not significant in the yield output of all the major crops grown (P<0.05). NPK, SOM, pH and % C was different in all the landscape positions and all these properties were above critical levels. Generally coping and adaptation is geographic and location specific and farmers practice adaptation according to where they live. The study finally recommends strengthening climate change adaptation practices specific to geographic location. The appropriate policy level responses should complement the autonomous adaptation practices by facilitating on farm adaptation adoption and availing information to farmers to practice adaptation where they live and information should not only be with regard to climate related forecasts but available and affordable adaptation practices.