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Cape Peninsula University of Technology (2020)

Coping and adaptation strategies for agricultural water use during drought periods in the Overberg and West Coast Districts, Western Cape, South Africa

Pili, Olwethu

Titre : Coping and adaptation strategies for agricultural water use during drought periods in the Overberg and West Coast Districts, Western Cape, South Africa

Auteur : Pili, Olwethu

Université de soutenance : Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Grade : Master of Environmental Health 2020

Résumé partiel
Droughts and floods are becoming more frequent globally due to climate change. In South Africa, drought has been one of the most significant disasters in recent times, with regions such as the Western Cape province among the most affected. The resultant food and water shortages have necessitated the need for robust strategies to cope and adapt, especially for smallholder farmers whose livelihoods depend on water and farming. Understanding how smallholder farmers cope in the face of drought and prepare for future droughts to minimise impacts associated with drought is crucial. This study identified agricultural water use ; coping and adaptation strategies that can be adopted and implemented by crop and livestock farmers in Overberg and West Coast Districts, in the Western Cape, during the recent 2015-2018 drought. The study also analysed factors that hinder smallholder farmers from adopting beneficial livelihood strategies during drought periods. Data were collected from 100 smallholder farmers from the two districts through face-to-face interview surveys and focus group discussions. Survey data were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 20, while qualitative data was analysed using Atlas ti, Version 8. Twelve agricultural water coping strategies were identified. In the West Coast District (WCD), smallholder farmers (SHF) mainly coped with the drought by utilising borehole water (21%), purchasing fodder (18%), and selling livestock (21%). Strategies such as grazing management (6%), limiting production (3%), and rainwater harvesting (3%) were not commonly adopted. In the Overberg District (OD), smallholder farmers mainly coped with drought through purchasing fodder (34%) ; they had no option but to spend their money to maintain livestock herd. They also transported water using ‘bakkies’ (27%). Other coping strategies included borehole water (7%), grazing management (7%), selling livestock (7%), and using municipal water. Strategies such as drip irrigation (3%), no-till farming (2%), limiting production (2%), and rainwater harvesting (2%) were not commonly adopted by SHFs. About 68% and 64% of smallholder farmers in WCD and OD, respectively, had not put in place any adaptation strategies. Only 32% of SHFs in the WCD and 34% SHFs in the OD had adopted adaptation strategies. Among farmers in the WCD, adaptation strategies included storing feeds (7%), planting their fodder (5%), and installing water tanks (5%). In the OD, adaptation strategies included storing fodder (13%), storing water (5%), drilling boreholes (5%), saving money (4%), purchasing fodder (4%) and paying insurance (4%). Strategies such as conservation farming, alien plant clearance, moving livestock to secure areas, selling livestock, rainwater harvesting, and installing water tanks were not widely implemented by smallholder farmers. In the WCD, the main factor that stopped farmers (about 80%) from adopting adaptation strategies was lack of drought awareness (80%).

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