Farmers’ Perceptions of Climate Change and Its Agricultural Impacts in the Abay and Baro-Akobo River Basins, Ethiopia
AbstractThis article presents an assessment of farmers’ perceptions of climate change and its agricultural impacts in the Ethiopian portion of the Nile and Baro-Akobo river basins. A total of 500 randomly selected households were interviewed from 15 kebeles in five woredas, three each from dega, woina-dega and kolla agroecological zones. In addition, focus group discussions and key informant interviews were conducted in each kebele. Descriptive statistics and ÷2 and F tests were used to summarize quantitative data, while qualitative data were organized and used to augment the quantitative analysis. Results indicate that a majority of
farmers perceived climate change as manifested in temperature and rainfall changes, over the past two to three decades. Regarding agricultural impacts, 77% of respondents stated having observed reduction in crop production while 60% observed reduction in the length of crop growing period. Similarly, 79%, 62% and 44% of respondents perceived increased incidence of insects, plant diseases, and weeds, respectively. Also, about 59% of the respondents perceived shift of suitable areas for major crops. The belg season production, in the traditionally belg growing areas, has been almost totally abandoned. A higher proportion of households in dega and kolla areas perceived negative agricultural impacts as compared to those in woina-dega, the difference being statistically significant.
Similarly, statistically significant gender-based differences were observed in
perception of climate change and its agricultural impacts, where the proportion of females perceiving climate change was lower than that of males. It is concluded that there is a need for identification and promotion of community-based adaptation measures that take into account local perceptions and knowledge of climate change and its multiple impacts.