Adoption of drought-tolerant crops as an adaptation strategy to drought effects in Same district, Tanzania.

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University of Dar es Salaam
Droughts’ intensity and frequency have been increasing due to rapid climate change, especially in arid and semi-arid areas. This has increased the severity of their effects on natural and social systems. Crop farming is one of the severely impacted systems due to over-dependence on rainfall. Farmers have been adapting through various strategies, but poor crop production is frequently reported due to severity of current droughts. Thus, it is important to adopt strategies which can be able to withstand the severity of current droughts. There is a broad scientific consensus that growing drought tolerant crops is a sustainable strategy to adapt to drought effects. However, less is known about the extent of adoption of these crops together with determinants of such adoption and it was the objective of this study to fill this gap. The study was guided by four specific objectives, namely, to analyse the trend of droughts’ severity since 1960 to 2016, to evaluate strategies adopted by farmers to adapt to drought effects, to assess the extent of adoption of drought tolerant crops and to examine determinants of adoption of those crops. The study used data on crops grown and production from local farmers and district agriculture office together with meteorological data from Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) and local stations. Besides, data on local farmers’ perceptions of droughts, adaptation strategies and adoption of drought tolerant crops were used. An explanatory mixed method design was used in data collection and analysis. Quantitative data were collected through structured interviews and were analysed through descriptive statistics and statistical tests as well as the percent of normal precipitation index for rainfall data. Qualitative data, on the other hand, were collected through focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, direct observation and documentary review and were analysed through content analysis method. It was found that current droughts are more intensive and frequent than past droughts, especially before 1990s, posing detrimental impacts on crop production and general livelihoods. Farmers use various adaptation strategies, including, changing planting dates, growing early maturing crop varieties, terracing and irrigation. However, they hardly produce even enough food due to high intensity and frequency of current droughts. Thus, some farmers opt for off-farm strategies like doing casual/paid labour, migration and reducing number of meals which have negative social and health effects. Although drought tolerant crops are able to withstand the severity of current droughts, few farmers have adopted them due to various barriers, including, farmers’ perceptions of these crops, limited knowledge, inadequate access to climate information, market constraints, shortage of seeds, destructive birds and bad motivation approaches. To increase adoption of these crops, it is recommended that TMA has to improve weather forecasting and dissemination of information to local areas. Moreover, local authorities have to educate farmers on usefulness of these crops instead of forcing them to adopt. It is further recommended that the national agriculture policy has to include drought as one of the policy issues and encourage adoption of drought tolerant crops particularly in drought prone areas.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF SB439.8.T34L97)
Drought, Tolerant plant, Crops and climate, Farmers, Social economic, Arid regions, Same district, Tanzania
Lusiru, S. (2018). Adoption of drought-tolerant crops as an adaptation strategy to drought effects in Same district, Tanzania. Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam.