Better Safe than Sorry: Local Impacts of Climate Change on Agricultural Activities in North-East Ghana
Water is precious and vulnerable simultaneously in the face of climate change impacts. Farmers respond differently to climate change impacts depending on available resources. The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of access to water on smallholder farmers’ coping strategies to climate change impacts in the semi-arid zone (Aw climate). Using a mixed method approach, 6 focus group discussions, 10 key informant interviews and 148 questionnaires were administered to farmers. Quantitative data were analysed and presented using descriptive statistics whilst qualitative data were transcribed and discussed alongside. The study found that in coping with local climate change, farmers’ incomes are dependent on availability of water to supplement rainfall. Therefore, communities closer to the waters of the Tono irrigation dam have greater advantage over other communities that rely on waters from dugouts and wells. Also, income gained from farming is complemented with supplementary incomes from activities such as petty trading, carpentry and sale of farmers’ labour on other farms. Availability of water, particularly, during the dry season is a determinant factor of success in terms of good farm produce, income and better coping with local climate change impacts. To help these water-stressed farmers, the provision of sustainable sources of water is inevitable. The government and smallholders need to work together to solve the problem.