Farmers’ Perceptions of Climate Change and Variability and Existing Opportunities for Adaptation in Wenchi Area of Ghana

Abstract

Climate change is increasingly emerging as the most significant environmental threat to sustainability of human livelihoods in Ghana, as in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. A participatory research study initiated in 2007 in Wenchi, Ghana, shows that farmers consider poor rainfall distribution and frequent droughts as the most commonly observed indicators of climatic variability in recent times. About 55% of the farmers considered the 1980s as the decade of worst observed adverse weather events, and poor rainfall distribution was mentioned as the most observed adverse weather event by about 70% of the respondents. Farmers have responded to these adverse weather events by making changes in their farming practices. These changes included increased crop diversification such as planting of early maturing crops, use of drought tolerant crop varieties and planting of different crop varieties as well as escaping sensitive crop stages through crop management practices that ensure that critical crop growth stages do not coincide with harsh climatic conditions in the growing season. Early planting was the strategy frequently used by majority (34%) of the farmers, followed by the use of agro-chemicals (18%) and planting of early maturing crops (16%). Emerging priority areas for research include development of appropriate cropping systems to improve soil fertility and enhance sustainable production, and to develop appropriate soil and crop management practices for cassava-based cropping systems in order to improve yields and cooking quality of cassava, a major staple food for the people of Wenchi. Poor access to climate information and knowledge on crop management technologies is a major factor influencing the responsiveness of farmers to any externally introduced adaptation options.

Citation

Adjei-Nsiah, S.; Issaka, R.N.; Fening, J.O.; Mapfumo, P.; Anchirina, V.; Giller, K.E. Farmers’ Perceptions of Climate Change and Variability and Existing Opportunities for Adaptation in Wenchi Area of Ghana. International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses (2010) 2 (2) 49-60.

Farmers’ Perceptions of Climate Change and Variability and Existing Opportunities for Adaptation in Wenchi Area of Ghana

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