Evaluation of Climate Change Adaptation Alternatives for Smallholder Farmers in the Upper Blue-Nile Basin

Yalemzewd Nigussie, Edwin van der Werf*, Xueqin Zhu, Belay Simane, Ekko C. van Ierland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change is expected to have severe negative impacts on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in developing countries. However, smallholder farmers and governments in these regions tend to be ill-prepared for the impacts of climate change. We present the results of a stakeholder-based multi-criteria analysis of climate change adaptation options for agriculture, natural resource management and water management in the upper Blue-Nile basin in Ethiopia. We use the PROMETHEE II outranking method to analyse data from a survey in which farmers and experts were asked to evaluate adaptation options based on potentially conflicting criteria. Adaptation options for soil and land management, such as crop rotation and composting, score high based on two sets of criteria for assessing adaptation options for agriculture. River diversion, preventing leaching and erosion, and drip irrigation are ranked highest as adaptation options for water management. Regarding natural resource management, the highest ranked adaptation options are afforestation, water retention and maximizing crop yield. Rankings by farmers and by experts are weakly correlated for agriculture and water management, and negatively correlated for natural resource management, which shows the importance of extension services and of involving farmers in the decision-making process to ensure the feasibility of adaptation options.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-150
JournalEcological Economics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Adaptation
  • Agriculture
  • Climate change
  • Ethiopia
  • Multi-criteria analysis
  • Stakeholders


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