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University of Pretoria (2019)

Agro-ecological location of farms and choice of drought coping strategies of smallholder farmers in Swaziland

Khumalo, Temndeni Amnestantia

Titre : Agro-ecological location of farms and choice of drought coping strategies of smallholder farmers in Swaziland

Auteur : Khumalo, Temndeni Amnestantia

Université de soutenance : University of Pretoria

Grade : Master of Science (MS) in Agricultural Economics 2019

Résumé partiel
This study uses data from Swaziland to test whether variations in local agro-ecological regions levels of drought susceptibility and other socioeconomic factors significantly determine farmer selected drought coping and adaptation strategies. This was in response to the policy need to understand how livelihoods of poor, rural, smallholder farming communities can be made more resilient in the face of recurrent droughts. Swaziland’s agro-ecological regions were divided into those that were highly susceptible (Lubombo and Lowveld) and those that were relatively less susceptible (Highveld and Middleveld) to drought. Using structured questionnaires and face-to-face interviews, the study compared 115 randomly selected farmers from the former and 50 farmers from the latter region based on the following household level indicators : behavioural responses to perceived long-term changes in temperature and precipitation ; the impact and behavioural responses to the most recent drought event ; how farmers would have responded if they had ex ante information on the most recent drought event ; ex ante private investment in anticipation of future drought events ; and finally farmer preferences for ex ante public investments in anticipation of future drought events. Regarding farmers’ behavioural responses to perceived long-term changes in temperature and precipitation ; all farmers in the two agro-ecological zones clearly perceived climate change variability and in response adopted strategies to mitigate the effects. There were, however, marked differences in strategy selection between the two regions. On perceiving these changes ; farmers in the more susceptible regions were more interested in adopting adaptation strategies, whereas those in the less susceptible regions were much more reluctant to apply any drought coping and adaptation strategies. To determine the significance and validity of these differences in adaptation ; chi square tests were conducted on each strategy applied in the two regions and those that were significantly different between the two zones were further analysed using probit analysis to determine socio-economic, biophysical, and policy variables that contributed to the selection of these strategies. The results of the chi square test revealed that adaptation strategies that were significantly selected between the two regions in the past ten years were purchasing water (51%), construction of livestock shelter (51%), purchasing hay (50%), changing livestock type to more drought tolerant animals such as goats (41%), and migration of livestock to areas with better grazing (35%).

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Page publiée le 28 mai 2020, mise à jour le 21 septembre 2020