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Women farmers’ perceived indices of occurrence and severity of observed climate extremes in rural Savannah, Ghana

Abstract

Climate extremes over the years have been a major concern for the globalized world. The hardest hit from these climate extremes are women farmers with low adaptive capacity. This study explored women farmers’ perceived indices of occurrence and severity of observed climate extremes in rural Ghana. Employing the qualitative method approach, eight focus group discussions and 15 interviews were conducted with women farmers under Centre for Alleviation of Poverty, Environment and Child Support GROW Project. The study adopted the thematic analytical approach for the data analysis. The results of the study revealed that the occurrence of drought, flood and bush fires has been an annual phenomenon over the past decade. In terms of severity, women farmers also reported that climate extremes, when they occurred, were very intense, especially drought and bush fires. The results further indicated that rainfall and temperature variations were markedly observed with the prediction of rainfall in particular becoming extremely difficult. Evidently, women farmers observed that climate extremes were caused by deforestation, bush fires and neglect of veneration of ancestral spirits. Importantly, the study found that women have devised their own means of responding to climate extremes to include support networks, savings and spiritual assistance from ancestors for rain when there was prolonged drought. The study recommends the need for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Environment Science and Technology to forecast and display information on the yearly occurrence and severity of drought, flood and bush fires to complement women’s local knowledge in decision making.

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Fig. 1

Source: Ghana Statistical Service (2013)

Fig. 2

Source: Ghana Metrological Department (2017)

Fig. 3

Source: participate photo

Fig. 4

Source: Participate photo

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Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge the women for their time, information and interest in this study.

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Correspondence to Gordon Yenglier Yiridomoh.

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Yiridomoh, G.Y., Bonye, S.Z., Derbile, E.K. et al. Women farmers’ perceived indices of occurrence and severity of observed climate extremes in rural Savannah, Ghana. Environ Dev Sustain 24, 810–831 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-021-01471-4

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Keywords

  • Climate extremes
  • Climate change
  • Women farmers
  • Rural Savannah
  • Ghana