Perception of and adaptation to climate change among agricultural communities of Kabarole District
Muhwezi, Andrew M.
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This study sought to analyze perception of and adaptation to climate change among agricultural communities of Kabarole district. Specifically, the study examined farmers’ perceptions and understanding of climate change, their responses to climate change shocks, coping and adaptation measures as well as identifying the barriers farmers encounter in the process of adapting to climate change. The study targeted a sample size of 120 households. Guided interviews were conducted with one member of the household that was responsible for making decisions on what agricultural operations the household undertook. The data collection survey exercise was done between April and May 2011 followed by data coding and analysis using SPSS. The study revealed that a substantial proportion of households (92.5 percent) had heard of and were knowledgeable about climate change. Variations in temperature, episodes of prolonged droughts, variations in rainfall and rainfall patterns stood out as observed changes that were significant in drawing farmers’ attention to changes in climate. Changing farm practices, participating in work for food arrangements, selling of household assets emerged as coping responses to climate change shocks. These also doubled as adaptation measures in the long run. Farmers believed that previous harvest storage practices and farm diversification would serve as better alternative adaptation strategies if government strategically intervened. The Logistic regression results found that women had higher chances of changing crop variety compared to men. Responses after drought varied as well according to location and farmer experience. Farmers who had spent more than ten years in farming had increased odds of changing crop variety compared to those who had practiced for less than five years. Limited access to credit, inputs, information and government support were some of the barriers mentioned to hinder the adaptation efforts. Government needs to intervene strategically to promote adaptation strategies such as increasing irrigation so as to enable farmers produce all throughout the year as opposed to leaving farmers to rely on rainfall whose variation has led decline in crop production and poses threats to their livelihoods.