Effect of climate change on livelihoods of smallholder farmers A case of selected villages in Mufindi District, Tanzania

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University of Dar Es Salaam
This study assessed the effects of climate change as well as the non-climatic stressors/drivers on livelihoods of smallholder farmers: A Case of selected villages in Mufindi District, Tanzania. It aimed at investigating farmers’ perception and experience on climate change, analyzed the trend and pattern of rainfall and temperature and lastly, evaluated the effects of climate change and non-climatic drivers on main livelihood activities (food crops and animal keeping). Primary and secondary data were collected using methods such as questionnaire survey, in-depth interviews, direct observation, and focus group discussions. Qualitative and quantitative research designs were employed in the study. About 120 household heads in both study villages were interviewed; they were selected through simple random sampling, while key informants and study villages were purposively selected. Qualitative data were subjected to content analysis and Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software version 16 was used to analyze quantitative data. Microsoft Office Excel 2007 was used to plot tables, graphs and pie charts so as to give frequencies and percentages. Quantitative forms of data were presented in terms of tabular percentage. The study revealed that, 89% of the respondents associated climate change with variability in weather conditions such as rainfall inconsistency and unpredictability over years, whereby the variability was related to decrease of rainfall, change in rainfall patterns and distribution, unpredictable rainfall, increased seasonality, increase in temperature and drought as well as prolonged dry spells. According to the local perceptions of the respondents, temperature is increasing at alarming rate while rainfall is becoming more unpredictable and unreliable. Hence, this implies that there is growing perception among farmers that climate is changing since they are aware of the changes in the elements of climate and they relate these changes in long-term. The mean annual rainfall has been in a decreasing trend at a non-significant rate of R2 = 0.0273, which concur with (81%) of respondents who argued that rainfall is decreasing. Also the mean annual temperature in the district has increased at R2=0.448 especially from 1970 which is statistically insignificant as it was some years back. But 11% of the respondents associated climate change with heavy rainfall and low temperature this could possibly be motivated by extreme events such as El Nino that took place fifteen years ago, and droughts as well as dry spells. In general, this has resulted to, emergence of new crops and animals insect pests and diseases, drying of water sources and food crops as well as changes of planting calendar and shrinkage of grazing land, all in which have affected crops and livestock production as main livelihoods to smallholder farmers, hence, this subjects the District to occasional food shortage. The study also revealed that, farmers have developed adaptation strategies from their own experiences such as planting drought tolerant crops, afforestation in catchment areas and traditional irrigation to improve their livelihoods. The study recommends that, there should be deliberate efforts to capacity building and awareness creation to farmers and government officials on climate change issues and agriculture. Adaptation strategies should be on long-term that seek to improve smallholder farmers livelihood’s in the District.
Available in print form, University of Dar es Salaam at Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library()
climate change, livelihoods of smallholder farmers, villages in Mufindi District, Tanzania
Mung‟ong‟o H.G (2013)Effect of climate change on livelihoods of smallholder farmers A case of selected villages in Mufindi District, Tanzania, Master dissertation, University of Dr es Salaam, Dar es Salaam