Small-holder farmers’ climate change adaptation practices in the Upper East Region of Ghana
The paper assessed the existing adaptation strategies implemented by farmers in the Upper East Region of Ghana to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change and variability. The paper used data collected through a series of participatory methods including focus group discussions, questionnaire surveys and key informant interviews in 4 farming communities with different socioeconomic backgrounds in the Bongo and Talensi-Nabdam Districts of the Upper East Region. Results showed that farmers’ adaptation to climate change and variability may be categorized under agricultural, water management, communal pooling and livelihood diversification techniques. Specific livelihood diversification adaptation practices identified in the study communities include charcoal or fuel wood sales, temporal and permanent migration to urban areas in search of non-existing jobs. Communal pooling, involving joint ownership and sharing of wealth, labor or incomes across households, is not widely practiced and should be enhanced. The findings showed that male and female farmers may engage in different set of adaptation practices to cope with climate change. Further, the results showed that farmers, especially female farmers, were constrained by a lack of property rights of farmlands, lack of credit facilities and lack of access to irrigation facilities, inadequate climate change information and inadequate seeds for planting. The paper recommends that farmers should be encouraged to form farmer-based associations to network socially, access credit facilities, land, insurance products, extension services and training to empower communities and women. Fostering peer exchange of information between communities will ensure best practices, and lessons learnt are shared and scaled-up. This paper contributes to the literature on mechanisms employed by farmers in dryland farming systems to cope with climate change and variability.
KeywordsClimate change Small-holder farmer Agricultural practices Gender Adaptation strategies Ghana
The authors acknowledge the support and collaboration of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the District Assemblies and Traditional rulers in the communities from the Upper East Region. The contributions of field enumerators and focal persons, who were involved in data collection, are gratefully acknowledged. We are also grateful to the Center for International Governance Innovation African Initiative Grant Research for providing funding for this research.
- Antwi-Agyei, P. (2012). Vulnerability and adaptation of Ghana’s food production systems and rural livelihoods to climate variability. PhD Thesis, University of Leeds.Google Scholar
- Antwi-Agyei, P., Fraser, E. D. G., Dougill, A. J., Stringer, L. C., Simelton, E., et al. (2012). Mapping the vulnerability of crop production to drought in Ghana using rainfall, yield and socioeconomic data. Applied Geography, 32, 324–334. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2011.06.010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Benneh, G. (2009). Population, disease and rural development programs in the Upper East Region. In J. I. Clarke & M. Khogali (Eds.), Population and development projects in Africa (p. 348). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Blench, R. (2006). Working paper: Background conditions in Upper East Region, Northern Ghana, 2005 Wa. Sunday, 01 Jan 2006.Google Scholar
- Boko, M., Niang, I., Nyong, A., Vogel, C., Githeko, A., Medany, M., et al. (2007). Africa. In M. L. Parry, O. F. Canziani, J. P. Palutikof, P. J. Van Der Linden, & C. E. Hanson (Eds.), Climate change (2007): Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (pp. 433–467). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Bongo District Assembly. (2015). Bongo District Agriculture Development Unit/Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Bongo District Assembly.Google Scholar
- Christensen, J. H., Hewitson, B., Busuioc, A., Chen, A., Gao, X., Held, R., et al. (2007). Regional climate projections: climate change (2007): The physical science basis Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the IPCC. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Davies, S. (1996). Adaptable livelihoods coping with food insecurity in the Malian Sahel. London: Macmillan Press.Google Scholar
- De Pinto, A., Demirag, U., Haruna, A., Koo, J., & Asamoah, M., et al. (2012). Climate change, agriculture, and food crop production in Ghana. International Food Policy Research Institute Policy Note 3, September, 2012.Google Scholar
- Dickson, K. B., & Benneh, G. (1988). A new geography of Ghana. Essex: Longman Group Ltd.Google Scholar
- Dietz, T., Millar, D., Dittoh, S., Obeng, F., Ofori-Sarpong, E., et al. (2004). Climate and livelihood change in North East Ghana. In A. J. Dietz et al. (Eds.), The impact of climate change on drylands: With a focus on West-Africa, 149–172. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Environmental Protection Agency. (2011). Ghana’s second national communication to the United Nations framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC). Accra: EPA.Google Scholar
- FAO. (2007). Climate change and food security: A framework for action. Report by an interdepartmental working group on climate change. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
- Ford, J. (2007). Emerging trends in climate change policy: The role of adaptation. International Public Policy Review, 3, 5–15.Google Scholar
- Ghana Meteorological Agency. (2010). Regional rainfall data in mm (2001–2010). Accra: Ghana Meteorological Agency.Google Scholar
- GSS. (2005). Analysis of district data and implications for planning Upper East Region. Accra: Ghana Statistical Service.Google Scholar
- GSS. (2012). 2010 Population and housing census. Summary report of results. Accra: Ghana Statistical Service.Google Scholar
- Gyasi, E. A., Karikari, O., Kranjac-Berisavljevic, G., & Von Vordzogbe, V., et al. (2006). Study of climate change vulnerability and adaptation assessment relative to land management in Ghana. Reports of the members of the study team, pp. 1–91.Google Scholar
- Habtezion, S., Eggerts, E., Huyer, S., Strohmeier, H., Wanjiru, L., et al. (2013). Gender and Adaptation. NewYork: United Nations Development Programme.Google Scholar
- IPCC. (2007). Climate change 2007: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- IPCC. (2014). Climate change 2014: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of working group II to the IPCC fifth assessment report. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Kumasi, T. C. & Asenso-Okyere, K., (2011). Responding to land degradation in the highlands of Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC. IFPRI Discussion Paper 01142, December 2011.Google Scholar
- McKinley, J., Adaro, C., Pede, V., Setiyono, T., Thang, T. C., & Huong, D. L., et al. (2016). Gender differences in climate change perception and adaptation strategies: A case study on three provinces in Vietnam’s Mekong River Delta. CCAFS Info Note, Copenhagen, Denmark. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).Google Scholar
- McSweeney, C., New, M., & Lizcano, G. et al. (2008). UNDP climate change country profiles: Ghana [online]. Available from: Accessed 8 Nov 2017.Google Scholar
- Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology. (2012). Ghana National Climate Change Policy. Accra. Available from https://pef.org.gh/documents/climate-change/national-climate-change-policy.pdf. Accessed 9 Nov 2017.
- Nelson G. C. (2009). Agriculture and climate change: An agenda for negotiation in Copenhagen. 2020 Focus No. 16. May 2009. http://www.ifpri.org/2020/focus/focus16.asp. Accessed 20 Jan 2014.
- Nyantakyi-Frimpong, H. (2013). Indigenous knowledge and climate adaptation policy in Northern Ghana [Online]. Available: http://dspace.cigilibrary.org/jspui/bitstream/123456789/33506/1/Backgrounder%20No%20%2048%20-%20Indigenous%20Knowledge%20and%20Climate%20Adaptation%20in%20Northern%20Ghana.pdf?1.
- Paeth, H., & Hense, A. (2004). SST versus climate change signals in West African rainfall: 20th-century variations and future projections. Climate Change, 65(1/2), 179–208. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:CLIM.0000037508.88115.8a.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Palanisami, K., Haileslassie, A., Kakumanu, K. R., Ranganathan, C. R., Wani, S. P., & Craufurd, P., et al. (2015). Climate change, gender and adaptation strategies in dryland systems of South Asia: A household level analysis in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan States of India; Research Report No. 65. Project Report. ICRISAT, Patancheru, Telangana, India.Google Scholar
- Prah, M. (1995). National action programme for poverty reduction: Background report on women in development. Report prepared for the Ministry of Local Government Accra and UNDP.Google Scholar
- Rademacher-Schulz, C., & Mahama, E. S. (2012). “Where the rain falls” project. Case study Ghana. Results from Nadowli district, Upper West region. Report No. 3. Bonn: The UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security.Google Scholar
- Schiffer, E., McCarthy, N., Birner, R., Waale, D., & Asante, F. et al. (2008) Information flow and acquisition of knowledge in water governance in the Upper East Region of Ghana. IFPRI Discussion Paper 00820 November 2008.Google Scholar
- TNDADU. (2015). Talensi Nabdam District Agriculture Development Unit/Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Talensi Nabdam District Agriculture Development Unit. http://mofa.gov.gh/site/?paged=1658.
- Yaro, J. A., Teye, J., Bawakyillenuo, S., et al. (2015). Local institutions and adaptive capacity to climate change/variability in the northern savannah of Ghana. Climate and Development, 7(3), 235–245.Google Scholar