Smallholder Farmers’ Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change in Semi-Arid Areas of Chamwino District, Tanzania
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ABSTRACT: Climate is the main determinant for agricultural productivity worldwide. This paper presents the findings of a study conducted in Chamwino District in Dodoma Region to examine smallholder farmers‟ adaptation strategies to climate change. The study used long term weather data obtained from Dodoma Airport meteorological stations and the free online satellite weather data from the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) as well as primary household data from a sample of 125 smallholder farmers collected through structured interviews. The satellite climate data was used to overcome the bottleneck of ground station weather data after removing the bias on data. The bias of the CFSR data was corrected by a linear bias correction approach. Climatic data were analyzed to establish the relationship between crop production and changes in the climatic variables using correlation analysis. The results revealed that most of the farmers were slightly aware (61%) about climate change and mostly referred to it as changes in temperature (50%) and recurrence of drought (22%). The weather data showed a declining trend in temperature of 3.60C and rainfall (20–27 mm per annum) over the span of 38 years indicating evidences of climate change. Paddy, sorghum and legumes showed an increasing trend while other crops showed a declining trend. Most of farmers adapted the use of drought tolerant crop varieties and early planting of crops as on-farm adaptation strategies while petty business and casual labour were the main off-farm climate change adaptation strategies. This study concludes that the declining rainfall and increased temperature in Chamwino District is affecting smallholder farmers by reducing crop yield. Nevertheless, farmers were well aware and understood about climate change and its impacts. Most of farmers had adopted appropriate copping strategies to sustain their livelihood amidst the challenges brought about by the effects of climate change. It is recommended that the Tanzania government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to improve extension services so as to enhance adoption of climate change smart technologies among smallholder farmers in order to sustain their livelihood.