Farmers Adaptation Strategies to Drought: Findings from Three Agro-ecological Zones of Ghana
Jones Abrefa Danquah
University of Cape Coast, College of Humanities and Legal Studies, Dept. of Geography and Regional Planning, Ghana
Climate change has a direct impact on human socioeconomic, cultural activities, and survival irrespective of geographic location and context. Of all the climate change-induced hazards drought is the costliest and devastating stressor. Drought imposes untold adverse consequences on human livelihood and wellbeing. The variation in drought patterns and farmers’ vulnerability to drought across different agro-ecological zones of Ghana is less researched and documented. Nevertheless, over time farmers have evolved certain drought adaptation practices that have location specificity and cultural dimension. The study investigates variation and determinants of adaptation strategies amongst smallholder farmers across three different agro-ecological zones in the country. Upper West (Wa West: Savannah), Bono East (Nkoranza: Dry semideciduous Forest), and Western North (Wassa East: Moist Semididuous Forest) are used as case studies regions. These regions were selected because of their extreme reliance on agriculture as a major livelihood. A cross-sectional survey design was used to collect data from a random sample of 326 farmers. The study employed a multivariate Probit model to determine the factors that influence farmers' choice for specific drought adaptation strategies and Chi-Square analysis to establish variation in adaptation strategies across different ecological zones. Findings revealed that education, extension services, age, access to credit, market access, household size, and land holdings are major determinants for the adoption of drought-specific adaptation strategies among the farmers. The most common drought adaptation measures comprise changing of planting date, cultivation of early mature and drought-tolerant crops The farmers in the savannah zone use livelihood diversification approach through generation non-farm income and integrate livestock production with crops as drought adaptation strategies. In addition, the savannah zone farmers use seasonal migration to southern Ghana as one of the adaptation strategies to drought. Whilst, farmers in the forest zones increase their farm size and resort to integration food crops with tree crops(cocoa, cashew, oil palm, and Citrus). The study concluded that to enhance farmers’ adaptive capacity to the drought there is the need to increase access to extension services, irrigation facilities, improved seeds, credit, and weather information.
Keywords: Adaptation strategy, climate change, drought, smallholder farmers
Contact Address: Jones Abrefa Danquah, University of Cape Coast, College of Humanities and Legal Studies, Dept. of Geography and Regional Planning, Cape Coast, Ghana, e-mail: jones.danquahucc.edu.gh