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Accueil du site → Master → Afrique du Sud → 2018 → Smallholder farmers’ perceptions on climate variability in relation to climatological evidence in the Molemole Municipality (Limpopo Province) South Africa

University of Limpopo (2018)

Smallholder farmers’ perceptions on climate variability in relation to climatological evidence in the Molemole Municipality (Limpopo Province) South Africa

Rapholo, Maropene Tebello Dinah

Titre : Smallholder farmers’ perceptions on climate variability in relation to climatological evidence in the Molemole Municipality (Limpopo Province) South Africa

Auteur : Rapholo, Maropene Tebello Dinah

Université de soutenance : University of Limpopo

Grade : Master of Science (MS) in geography 2018

Résumé
In spite of the widespread scientific debate on the impacts of climate variability, not much is known about smallholder farmers’ perceptions towards climate variability and the impacts thereof on their agricultural practices. This is especially true for smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa in general and South Africa in particular. Literature contends that an understanding of the farmers’ perceptions of climate change and variability is indispensable for effective policy formulations and adaptive strategies. This current study posits that discrepancies between farmer perceptions and climatological evidence will negatively impact on farmer adaptation options and outcomes. The objectives of the study were to ; (1) assess climate variability in Molemole Local Municipality, Limpopo Province, (2) investigate farmers’ perceptions of climate variability, (3) compare farmers’ perceptions of climate variability with climatological data and (4) appraise farmers’ adaptive strategies to climate variability. A total of 125 farmers from Botlokwa Village participated in the study. The village was selected because it is the largest village in the municipality and it comprises mainly of rural farmers that are involved in rain-fed subsistence agriculture. In addition, the village receives limited government intervention and is in close proximity to a functional climate station (Polokwane Airport Weather Station). Based on purposive sampling, focus group discussions and a three-part closed ended questionnaire was administered to the farmers. Mean annual temperature and rainfall data (30 years) was used to assess climate variability in the study area. Farmers’ perceptions to climate variability was assessed using descriptive statistics based on summary counts of the responses with Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) program. Logistic regression analysis was used to compare differences in perception (mean responses). Comparison of farmers’ perceptions of climate variability against climatological evidence was restricted to mean annual temperature and rainfall data over the past 5 – 10 years). To appraise farmers’ adaptive strategies, the Adaptation Strategy Index (ASI) and the Weighted Average Index (WAI) were employed. vi Farmers’ perceptions of climate variability were consistent with recorded meteorological data. Based on the ASI and WAI computations, use of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) and crop management approaches were highly important adaptation strategies while the use of insurance and subsidies were least employed by the farmers. The results from the study also showed that the age of the household head, gender, level of education, farming experience and access to information on climate variability were crucial factors in influencing the likelihood of farmers to perceive climate variability. Given the overwhelming dependence on IKS for weather forecast, and adaptation to climate variability, it is recommended that IKS take centre stage in government initiatives and policies on climate change and variability, especially for smallholder farmers in rural settings. Sensitisation on the use of technology such as cellular phones to receive weather forecast is also recommended.

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