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Climate change and small-scale agriculture in Africa: does indigenous knowledge matter? Insights from Kenya and South Africa

Climate change and small-scale agriculture in Africa: does indigenous knowledge matter? Insights from Kenya and South Africa

Apraku, Amos, Morton, John F. ORCID: 0000-0002-8013-5794 and Apraku-Gyampoh, Benjamin (2021) Climate change and small-scale agriculture in Africa: does indigenous knowledge matter? Insights from Kenya and South Africa. Scientific African:e00821. ISSN 2468-2276 (doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sciaf.2021.e00821)

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Abstract

Africa is highly vulnerable to changes in global climatic conditions due to its low adaptive capacity and sensitivity to changes in climatic variables, particularly in the agricultural sector. A key attribute of studies on climate change coping strategies and adaptation mechanisms in Africa is that they lack local specificity. Within a discourse dominated by large-scale attempts to measure the extent of climate change and its impacts with methods drawn from physical and biological sciences, there is little focus on how locally-specific knowledge and practices help communities to cope with effects of adverse environmental conditions on their agriculture at the farm level. From a sample of 115 respondents drawn from South Africa and Kenya and through interviews, discussions and interactions, this paper demonstrates that local residents deploy their indigenous knowledge in predicting seasonal weather and rainfall patterns, determining wind speed and direction, preserving grains for planting purposes and various traditional farming support systems to lessen the impacts of climate change on their agricultural activities. The paper concludes that merging local knowledge with modern science in Africa could help develop a syncretic agronomical knowledge among farmers in handling climate change.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Climate change; indigenous knowledge; agriculture; Africa; Kenya; South Africa
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 > Ecosystem Services Research Group
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Livelihoods & Institutions Department
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 09:10
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/33075

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