Smallholder farmers' adaptation to climate change and determinants of their adaptation decisions in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia
Agriculture & Food Security
The agricultural sector remains the main source of livelihoods for rural communities in Ethiopia, but faces the challenge of changing climate. This study investigated how smallholder farmers perceive climate change, what adaptation strategies they practice, and factors that influence their adaptation decisions. Both primary and secondary data were used for the study, and a multinomial logit model was employed to identify the factors that shape smallholder farmers' adaptation strategies.
... strategies. Results: The results show that 90% of farmers have already perceived climate variability, and 85% made attempts to adapt using practices like crop diversification, planting date adjustment, soil and water conservation and management, increasing the intensity of input use, integrating crop with livestock, and tree planting. The econometric model indicated that education, family size, gender, age, livestock ownership, farming experience, frequency of contact with extension agents, farm size, access to market, access to climate information and income were the key factors determining farmers' choice of adaptation practice. Conclusion: In the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia, climate change is a pressing problem, which is beyond the capacity of smallholders to respond to autonomously. Farmers' capacity to choose effective adaptation options is influenced by household demography, as well as positively by farm size, income, access to markets, access to climate information and extension, and livestock production. This implies the need to support the indigenous adaptation strategies of the smallholder farmers with a wide range of institutional, policy, and technology support; some of it targeted on smaller, poorer or female-headed households. Moreover, creating opportunities for non-farm income sources is important as this helps farmers to engage in those activities that are less sensitive to climate change. Furthermore, providing climate change information, extension services, and creating access to markets are crucial.