Determinants of smallholder farmers’ adaptation strategies to the effects of climate change: Evidence from northern Uganda

Article Authors: Francis Atube, Geoffrey M. Malinga, Martine Nyeko, Daniel M. Okello, Simon Peter Alarakol & Ipolto Okello-Uma


Background: Climate change poses a threat to the sustainability of food production among small-scale rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa that are dependent on rain-fed agriculture. Understanding farmers’ adaptations and the determinants of their adaptation strategies is crucial in designing realistic strategies and policies for agricultural development and food security. The main objectives of this study were to identify the adaptation strategies used by smallholder farmers to counter the perceived negative effects of climate change in northern Uganda, and factors influencing the use of specific adaptation strategies. A cross-sectional survey research design was employed to collect data from 395 randomly selected smallholder farmers’ household heads across two districts by the administration of a semi-structured questionnaire. Binary logistic regression was used to analyze the factors influencing farmers’ adaptation to climate change.
Results: The three most widely practiced adaptation strategies were planting of different crop varieties, planting drought-resistant varieties, and fallowing. Results of the binary logit regression model revealed that marital status of household head, access to credit, access to extension services, and farm income influenced farmers’ adoption of planting drought-resistant varieties as an adaptation strategy while access to credit, annual farm income, and time taken to market influenced adoption of planting improved seeds. Gender of household head and farm income had a positive influence on farmers’ adoption of fertilizer and pesticide use. Farming experience, farm income, and access to extension services and credit influenced farmers’ adoption of tree planting. Household size, farming experience, and time taken to market had positive influence on the use of fallowing, while size of land cultivated significantly influenced farmers’ planting of different crop varieties as an adaptation strategy.
Conclusion: Findings of the study suggest there are several factors that work together to influence adoption of specific adaptation strategies by smallholder farmers. This therefore calls for more effort from government to strengthen the provision of agricultural extension services by improving its climate information system, providing recommended agricultural inputs and training farmers on best agronomic practices to enhance their holistic adaptation to the effect of climate change.

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DOI 10.1186/s40066-020-00279-1
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