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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Afrique du Sud → 2015 → Climate change perception, crop diversification and land use change among small-scale farmers in the Midlands region of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa : behavioural and microeconomic analyses.

University of KwaZulu-Natal (2015)

Climate change perception, crop diversification and land use change among small-scale farmers in the Midlands region of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa : behavioural and microeconomic analyses.

Hitayezu, Patrick.

Titre : Climate change perception, crop diversification and land use change among small-scale farmers in the Midlands region of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa : behavioural and microeconomic analyses.

Auteur : Hitayezu, Patrick.

Université de soutenance : University of KwaZulu-Natal

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural Economics 2015

Résumé partiel
The future of small-scale agriculture in South Africa is facing the challenges of high population growth, land degradation, and agro-biodiversity loss. In the Midlands region of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the challenges are exacerbated by climate change (CC). Agricultural land use change (ALUC) is among farm-level options to exploit the synergy between local adaptation and global mitigation of CC, whilst restoring degraded lands and agro-biodiversity reservoirs. The literature contends that the pathways to climate-resilient sustainable land use start with the farming sector’s vulnerability to CC, and translate into behavioural change through farmers’ perceptions about the climate risk. Two major steps characterize behavioural response to changing distributions of weather patterns. Behavioural responses to CC begin with reducing the vulnerability to climatic variability (e.g. by using tactical adjustments such as crop diversification), followed by forward-looking integration of adaptation and mitigation into farm planning (e.g. through ALUC). The purpose of this study was to provide a systematic and detailed understanding of climate-driven ALUC in the setting of small-scale farming in South Africa. Taking the Midlands region of KZN as an illustrative case, this study aimed (i) to explore some meso-level aspects of climate-related agricultural vulnerability ; (ii) to investigate the perceptions of small-scale farmers about CC and their socio-psychological, institutional and cultural determinants ; (iii) to analyse the farmland use systems and assess the microeconomic determinants of seasonal crop diversification ; and (iv) to assess the attitudes of small-scale farmers towards land use and the constraints governing ALUC decision-making. To assess the meso-level vulnerability of farming sector to CC in the Midlands region of KZN, an indicator approach was adopted. Various aspects of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity of the farming sector were explored using a systematic review of available empirical evidence. The review suggested that the farming sector is exposed to a warming and wetting climate. The reviewed evidence also suggested that the farming sector is highly sensitive to CC due to high population densities, high rates of small-scale farming, low irrigation rates and susceptibility to land degradation.

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