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Smallholder farmers’ perception of climatic and socio-economic factors influencing livelihoods in the transition zone of Ghana

Smallholder farmers’ perception of climatic and socio-economic factors influencing livelihoods in the transition zone of Ghana

Derkyi, Mercy, Adiku, Samuel G. K., Nelson, Valerie ORCID: 0000-0003-1075-0238, Delali Dovie, Benjamin, Codjoe, Samuel and Awuah, Esi (2018) Smallholder farmers’ perception of climatic and socio-economic factors influencing livelihoods in the transition zone of Ghana. AAS Open Research. ISSN 2515-9321 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.12688/aasopenres.12839.1)

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Abstract

Background:
The study analyzed smallholder farmers’ perception with regards to climatic and socio-economic changes influencing their agriculture livelihoods and coping strategies thereof in the transition zone of Ghana.

Methods:
We used semi-structured questionnaires for household survey involving 59 households and focus group discussions (n=60) for data collection in three communities.

Results:
Farming systems are influenced by high and extreme temperatures, delayed onsets of rain, short raining season as well as unpredictable raining seasons. Similarly, socioeconomic factors affecting the communities and their households’ livelihood included i) bad road network; ii) high prices of farm inputs; iii) prevalent crop pests and diseases and iv) absence of irrigation facilities. It was ascertained that though most farmers have not made conscious efforts to adapt strategies in their farming system to climate change and the social stressors, as expressed in ‘doing nothing or bearing losses’ and we are at the ‘mercy’ of the weather, there are hidden resilience mechanisms that can be harnessed to strengthen their adaptation capabilities. Women in the study area have adapted to the changes in the weather and safeguarded against post-harvest loss of cassava more effectively as compared to their male counterparts. Similarly, the prevailing group farming and maintenance structure (locally known as ‘Noboa’) strengthen the shared responsibility and reciprocity among migrant’ farmers.

Conclusions:
Though these agrarian communities have some coping strategies to overcome some climatic and socioeconomic challenges, their general adaptive capacity in terms of physical, financial and human assets are limited. This, therefore, calls for the capacity building of both men and women on best farming practices, adaptation strategies and piloting of irrigation systems to enhance their major livelihood but these must be complemented with good road network for ease of access to the market centres.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright: © 2018 Derkyi M et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate, livelihoods, Ghana, adaptation, smallholder agriculture, climate smart agriculture
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Livelihoods & Institutions Department
Last Modified: 17 May 2019 09:47
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/24269

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