Climate change impacts on crop production and smallholder farmer livelihoods in Limpopo Province, Northern South Africa
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Climate change and variability directly influences the food supply and livelihoods of billions of people, particularly smallholder farmers who depend on climate-sensitive rainfed agriculture. This study investigated the impacts of climate change on crop production and smallholder farmer’s livelihoods in Mopane and Vhembe districts, Limpopo province, South Africa. Hundred and fifty questionnaires were administered to smallholder farmers who were subsistence farmers who produced for household consumption and only seldom sold; those who were farming for both household consumption and selling the surplus; and those who were mainly selling referred to as ‘food producers’ because their primary goal was to produce for the market. Eight focus group discussions were conducted for further probing. Transect walks were done with a small group of farmers to triangulate the above mentioned tools. The study findings highlighted that most smallholder farmers especially women (64 per cent), regarded crop production as a way of life. The effect of climate change among farmers have been experienced through decline of productivity compromising food security and livelihood options of farmer’s as 73 per cent depend on the income generated from sales of agricultural produce. The findings also highlighted that smallholder subsistence farmers perceived prolonged droughts (56.4 per cent) as the main shock stressing crop production. They also indicated that droughts often lead to low crop yield and high crop failure (73.3 per cent). In response to the prevailing climatic conditions, smallholder farmers used their indigenous knowledge as it was regarded as accessible and available based on trust, convenience, cost effectiveness and reliability. However, there is a need to consider integration of indigenous knowledge system-based, climate-smart agricultural approaches and interventions with scientifically derived information to empower subsistence farmers with adequate adaptive capacity to better respond to climatic challenges.
Additional Citation InformationUbisi, N.R., Kolanisi, U. and Jiri, O. (2019). Climate change impacts on crop production and smallholder farmer livelihoods in Limpopo Province, Northern South Africa. In Tomar, A.S., Vijay, B and Mandaliya, V.B.,(eds)., Green Biotechnology. pp261-271. New Delhi: Daya Publishing House
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