Farmers’ adaptive strategies to the impact of drought: a case study of Iramba District in Singida Region

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study examined farmers’ adaptive strategies to the impact of drought in Iramba district in Singida Region. The main objective of the study was to investigate the ways that farmers use to adapt to the impact of drought during their farming activities. Other objectives were to identify the causes and impact of drought in the study area, assess challenges facing farmers during adaptation, and farmers’ awareness on the occurrence of drought and their prospects. To achieve these objectives, a survey was conducted involving 104 heads of household. In addition to that, four Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), ten interviewees and ten village stakeholders (traders, social workers and religious leaders) were involved in the sample. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used to explore farmers’ experience in adaptation strategies, challenges facing them, their attitudes towards drought occurrence and their prospects. Quantitative methods, particularly structured questionnaires, were administered to the heads of household and village stakeholders. Qualitative methods, specifically interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), were used accordingly for comparison and confirmation of respondents’ responses in questionnaire surveys. Quantitative data were analysed by using Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS). The data were edited, coded, and entered in the computer, then computed into percentages and frequencies. Qualitative data were analysed by using N6/QPR data analysis approach. The study revealed that the occurrence of drought in the study area is a result of deforestation, climate change and variability. The impact of drought in the area included decline of water sources and plant and animal yield, increase of water borne diseases, deterioration of livestock health and decline of land for production. Farmers’ adaptive strategies included: application of manure, planting drought resistance plants, buying extra animals and food, migration, and begging from relatives. However, farmers were faced with challenges like delay in getting drought resistant seeds, high seed prices, decline of land preservation for pasture, and lack of information. In order to avoid impacts of drought and challenges to adaptation, the findings revealed that farmers had planned to adopt more drought resistant crop and animal varieties, harvesting rain water for agricultural purposes, increase of capital and adoption of modern adaptation strategies. Based on the findings, it is recommended that in order to improve farming in the study area there should be funding of the existing farmers’ adaptive strategies, development of proper and fast drought information delivery systems, emphasis on agricultural production by the use of improved livestock and crop varieties, formulation and implementation of adaptation policies in the dry areas, and empowering farmers in the semi-arid regions. Also, there should be development of agroforestry in the drought prone areas, promotion of improved animal husbandry in semi-arid areas and establishment of regional and national adaptation programmes.
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Droughts, Farmers, Climatic change, Iramba dustruct, Kisarawe district, Singida region
Juma, A (2011) Farmers’ adaptive strategies to the impact of drought: a case study of Iramba District in Singida Region, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. (Available at