Perceptions of climate change, environmental variability and the role of agricultural adaptation strategies by small-scale farmers in Africa: the case of Mwanga district in Northern Tanzania

Mngumi, Julius W. (2016) Perceptions of climate change, environmental variability and the role of agricultural adaptation strategies by small-scale farmers in Africa: the case of Mwanga district in Northern Tanzania. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3159600

Abstract

Abstract
The potential impacts of climate change and environmental variability are already evident in most parts of the world, which is witnessing increasing temperature rates and prolonged flood or drought conditions that affect agriculture activities and nature-dependent livelihoods. This study was conducted in Mwanga District in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania to assess the nature and impacts of climate change and environmental variability on agriculture-dependent livelihoods and the adaptation strategies adopted by small-scale rural farmers. To attain its objective, the study employed a mixed methods approach in which both qualitative and quantitative techniques were used.
The study shows that farmers are highly aware of their local environment and are conscious of the ways environmental changes affect their livelihoods. Farmers perceived that changes in climatic variables such as rainfall and temperature had occurred in their area over the period of three decades, and associated these changes with climate change and environmental variability. Farmers’ perceptions were confirmed by the evidence from rainfall and temperature data obtained from local and national weather stations, which showed that temperature and rainfall in the study area had become more variable over the past three decades. Farmers’ knowledge and perceptions of climate change vary depending on the location, age and gender of the respondents. The findings show that the farmers have limited understanding of the causes of climatic conditions and environmental variability, as some respondents associated climate change and environmental variability with social, cultural and religious factors.
This study suggests that, despite the changing climatic conditions and environmental variability, farmers have developed and implemented a number of agriculture adaptation strategies that enable them to reduce their vulnerability to the changing conditions. The findings show that agriculture adaptation strategies employ both planned and autonomous adaptation strategies. However, the study shows that increasing drought conditions, rainfall variability, declining soil fertility and use of cheap farming technology are among the challenges that limit effective implementation of agriculture adaptation strategies. This study recommends further research on the varieties of drought-resilient crops, the development of small-scale irrigation schemes to reduce dependence on rain-fed agriculture, and the improvement of crop production in a given plot of land. In respect of the development of adaptation strategies, the study recommends the involvement of the local farmers and consideration of their knowledge and experience in the farming activities as well as the conditions of their local environment. Thus, the findings of this study may be helpful at various levels of decision making with regard to the development of climate change and environmental variability policies and strategies towards reducing farmers’ vulnerability to current and expected future changes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Supported by the scholarship of the Science and Technology Higher Education Project (STHEP) from Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE).
Keywords: Impacts of climate change, agriculture adaptation strategies, indigenous environmental farming knowledge.
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Supervisor's Name: John, Professor Briggs
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Mr Julius Mngumi
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7441
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2016 08:16
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2016 10:42
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/7441

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