Evaluation of adaptation measures by smallholder Irish potato farmers to climate variability in Rubanda District, South Western Uganda
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The study was conducted in Rubanda District with a general aim of evaluating the effectiveness of adaptation measures to climate variability used by smallholder Irish potatoes farmers. Specifically, the study set out to identify the adaptation measures, drivers and challenges to adaptation and evaluate the performance of these adaptation measures. A Cross-sectional survey was undertaken to collect data from 197 farmers using a combination of structured questionnaires and Focus Group Discussions; whilst key informant interviews were used to elicit data from purposively selected personnel from the local government as well as private and civil society organizations. Data was analyzed by way of generating descriptive statistics like the mean, mode, percentages, cross-tabulations and frequencies whilst relationships between the various variables were established by generating inferential statistics such as the standard multiple linear regression and Cobb-Douglas production function using SPSS Version 23. The adaptation measures used by smallholder farmers included growing adaptive seed varieties, fertilizer application, terracing, mulching, contour ploughing, changing planting dates, early planting among others. However, they are affected by several challenges including low funding, inadequate information, lack of a national policy on Irish potato production, inadequate human resource to handle climate adaptation issues, limited access to credit facilities and adulterated agricultural inputs. The major drivers to adaptation were presence of social network systems, access to credit, access to extension, high perceived risk of climate variability and support from institutions and organizations. Results further reveal that the effective measures are the use of technology, terracing, early planting, application of fertilizers and changing planting dates. For example, the Cobb-Douglas model revealed that the use of fertilizers was significantly positively associated with productivity of Irish potato (P < 0.001). The effectiveness of these measures can be improved through capacity building, increasing awareness, subsidizing the agro-inputs as well as promoting climate smart agriculture.