Farmers’ Perceptions and their Implications to Climate-Proof Food Security Programmes

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The role of farmers’ perception on climate change and their willingness to adapt are known. However, farmers’ perceptions are rarely considered in policy program approaches to improve food security. The research focuses on Ethiopia, which has been supported by many food security programs over the past decades, including the globally funded the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) that provides cash or food transfer to eight million chronically food-insecure people in periods of drought. Many of these food security programs are now exploring how to climate proof their approaches. Better understanding of the complex dynamics between farmers’ perceptions on climate change, the adaptation they are taking, and the socio-economic, geographical, and institutional context is helpful to recommend to climate-proof food security programs and interventions. The Ethiopian lowlands of the Arsi Negele district located in the Oromia Regional State are known for its bimodal rainfall. Farmers’ majors sources of livelihood are rainfed crop production and livestock. In this district, all interviewed farmers noticed changes at least in one of the climate variables over the past 30 years. In agreement with meteorological data, most farmers perceive an increasing trend in temperature. On the other hand, the common perception of increasing rainfall amounts conflicts with the observed data. In particular female farmers and farmers that are not member of farmer association have more conflicting perceptions on actual climate change. Perception and behavior are correlating with on-farm income, gender, and access to institutional services like farmers’ cooperative membership, and these elements should be included in food security approaches to become more climate proof. The different adaptation measures like application of pesticide and herbicide, fertilizer use, crop diversification, and adopting improved crop varieties were examined, and the key channels that may have encouraged farmers to adopt these mechanisms have been explored. These adaptation measures were mainly taken by farmers that were member of cooperatives, could access weather, and were located in specific areas. This implies the need to design targeted developmental interventions that consider the diversity of perceptions within the lowland agroecology of the Arsi Negele district.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Climate Change Management
Subtitle of host publicationResearch, Leadership, Transformation
EditorsWalter Leal Filho, Johannes Luetz, Desalegn Ayal
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9783030227593
ISBN (Print)9783030227593
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2021


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