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The adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers to climate change in the Northern Region of Ghana
- Abdul-Razak, Majeed, Kruse, Sylvia
- Climate risk management 2017 v.17 pp. 104-122
- agricultural industry, climate, climate change, economic resources, education, experts, farmers, gender, infrastructure, interviews, livelihood, questionnaires, risk management, social capital, surveys, women, Ghana
- Climate change is expected to adversely affect agricultural production, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where the agricultural sector forms the backbone of most countries’ economies. This thus holds true for the agriculture sector of the Northern Region of Ghana which is largely rain-fed and dominated by smallholder farmers with minimal livelihood alternatives. The main research question of this paper is how the adaptive capacity to climate change of smallholder farmers in the Northern Region of Ghana can be characterised? The paper proposes an indicator-based framework for assessing the adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers in the Northern Region of Ghana along six main determinants of adaptive capacity: economic resources, social capital, awareness and training, technology, infrastructure and institutions. Based on a thorough literature review and qualitative interviews with experts for rural livelihoods and agriculture in the study region, the determinants were ranked and three to five indicators per determinant were selected. The results of the expert interviews show that economic resources, awareness and training as well as technological capacities seem most relevant for smallholder farmers’ adaptive capacity while infrastructure, social capital, and institutions were ranked least important. The study operationalized the indicators in a standardized survey questionnaire and tested it in two agrarian communities in the Northern Region of Ghana. The survey results show the aggregate adaptive capacity of respondents is low. However, disparities in adaptive capacity were recorded among respondents in terms of gender and education. Differentiating between the determinants women farmer show significantly lower capacities in fields of economic resources, technology and knowledge and awareness. This paper recommends resilience building interventions in the study area that target individuals with low adaptive capacities, especially women and farmers without formal education.