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PROJECT TOPIC AND MATERIAL ON SMALLHOLDER FARMERS’ ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND DETERMINANTS OF THEIR ADAPTATION DECISIONS IN THE CENTRAL RIFT VALLEY OF ETHIOPIA
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- Name: Smallholder Farmers’ Adaptation To Climate Change And Determinants Of Their Adaptation Decisions In The Central Rift Valley Of Ethiopia
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Scientific evidence indicates that the earth’s climate is rapidly changing, owing to increases in greenhouse gas emissions [1, 2]. The increased concentration of greenhouse gases has raised the average temperature and altered the amount and distribution of rainfall globally [3, 4]. For example, in Sub-Saharan Africa, warming is expected to be greater than the global average and in parts of the region, rainfall will decline . There is growing evidence that extreme events, such as droughts and floods, have been common incidences . These have affected smallholder farmers in developing countries who heavily depend on rainfed agriculture for their livelihoods [2, 6, 7]. In Africa, climate change has affected both the natural and social systems [7, 8]. Impacts of climate change are felt more severely in semi-arid and arid areas [7, 9, 10]. Limiting the damage due to climate change has become a challenge for the global community now. In this regard, climate change mitigation and adaptation are crucial . Adaptation can manage the impacts but cannot by itself solve the problem of climate change. Even with adaptation, there will be residual costs. Smallholder farmers, for instance, can switch to more adapted crop varieties, but they may have lower productivity . In developing countries, adaptation of the agricultural sector to the changing climate is important for ensuring livelihoods of the poor communities . Adaptation will require the involvement of multiple stakeholders, including policymakers, extension agents, NGOs, researchers, communities, and farmers. Climate change adaptation is mostly location-specific, and its effectiveness depends on local institutions and socioeconomic setting . A better understanding of how smallholder farmers perceive climate change and the adaptation strategies they practice is needed to make policies and design programs aimed at promoting successful adaptation in the agricultural sector. A combination of factors influences the farmers’ perception about climate variability and the decision to use the selected adaptation strategies [14, 15].
Farmers in developing nations are developing resilience to climate change-related risks like droughts and floods through practicing diverse adaptation strategies. In the West African Sahel, for instance, pastoralists have come up with strategies to cope with the erratic rainfall . In Ethiopia, diverse practices are used in both the highlands and lowlands [16, 17]. The agricultural sector in Ethiopia accounts for about 42% of national GDP, 90% of exports and 85% of employment , and is mainly rainfed. The history of drought in Ethiopia dates back to 250 BC, since then droughts have occurred in different parts of the country at different times . At present, the potential adverse effects of climate change on Ethiopia’s agricultural sector are major concerns. In the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia, climate change and variability is manifest through frequent droughts and floods, erratic rainfall and fluctuating mean temperature . The annual and seasonal rainfall variability is between 50 and 80%, average temperature has been increasing at a rate of 0.37 °C every ten years, and the maximum daily temperature has increased by a cumulative 1.5 °C since 1900 . Smallholder farmers are highly dependent on rainfed agriculture which is very sensitive to climate variability and change. Changes in the distribution and amount of rainfall which have resulted in low precipitation and frequent drought have been affecting agriculture .
This study aimed at (a) examining how the local community perceived the impacts of climate change, (b) identifying what adaptation practices they use, and (c) investigating the factors that determine their choice of adaptation strategies in the central rift valley of Ethiopia. The study area has climate-related risks such as water stress and increased incidences of pest and diseases .