Impact of climate change adaptation strategies on smallholder farmers’ livelihoods in Moshi rural district, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
The study investigated climate change as a threat to smallholder farming particularly in developing countries that depend largely on rainfed agriculture. Climate change does not only affect the environment but also it affects the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, who in turn, use several adaptation strategies to address its impacts. This study assessed the impact of climate change adaptation strategies on smallholder farmers’ livelihoods in Moshi Rural district, Tanzania. The study adapted mixed research design, where quantitative and qualitative approaches were used to collect the data. A combination of multi-stage random sampling and purposive sampling methods were used to get six villages representing the three agro-ecological zones in the district, 359 household heads and 35 key informants. Data collection methods for this study were face-to-face administered questionnaires, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and observation. Questionnaires were administered to 359 household heads while in-depth interviews were administered to key informants. This study revealed that in the past 51 years, temperatures have increased significantly while rainfall has decreased at a non-significant rate. The recorded minimum temperatures showed higher increase than maximum temperatures. It was also noted that majority of farming households were aware of climate change in terms of increasing temperature and reduced rainfall. Furthermore, 92.5 percent of respondents perceived that temperatures have increased, while 74.9 percent perceived that rainfall has decreased. Findings further indicated that smallholder farmers used both household and farm-level adaptation strategies to address impacts of climate change. Farm-level practices included irrigation, change in crop varieties and crop diversification. Household adaptation strategies included livelihood diversification, sell of livestock and dependence on remittances. Farmers who used different adaptation strategies were able to improve their livelihoods in terms of increasing food production, increasing household incomes and construction of houses as well as purchasing transport facilities. However, the study found that, despite using several adaptation strategies, majority of the surveyed households have not improved their livelihoods. The major hindrances to adaptation included inadequate financial services plus capital, inadequate water for irrigation, inadequate extension services and small sized farms. The study recommends for improvement of agricultural extension services to smallholder farmers in order to enhance their capacity to adapt to climate change. There is also a need to provide financial and agricultural credits to farmers by government authorities so that farmers can improve their farming to overcome climate change impacts. In addition, the government should accelerate adoption of improved crop varieties as well as livelihood diversification in order to improve smallholder farmers’ livelihoods. Lastly, there is a need to provide timely, relevant and user-friendly weather information to smallholder farmers.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF QC981.8.C5T34M87)
Climatic changes, Farms, small, Moshi rural district, Tanzania
Mushy, R. B. (2016) Impact of climate change adaptation strategies on smallholder farmers’ livelihoods in Moshi rural district, Tanzania, Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam