AN INVESTIGATION OF CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION STRATEGIES AND INNOVATION OF SWAZI FARMERS
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Water and land are the major ingredients in the livelihoods of people globally. Only about 10% of the total area is suitable for agriculture in Swaziland, where over 95% of the water resources are ...
Water and land are the major ingredients in the livelihoods of people globally. Only about 10% of the total area is suitable for agriculture in Swaziland, where over 95% of the water resources are used for irrigation. Visible on the livelihoods of the population are the symptoms of the adverse effects of recurrent droughts, which are associated with climate change. Small-scale farmers in particular have limited resources to cultivate large portions of their arable land. Hence there is a notable realization that there are key economic areas- water, agriculture, forestry and energy- in which managed or policy driven climate change adaptation strategies are necessary. A study was carried out to document perceptions of Swazi farmers regarding the effects of climate change on their livelihoods and to identify water and land use technologies for climate change adaptation. Two instruments were used to gather data through interviews using focus group technique (FGT). The findings indicate that Swazi farmers are stretched to the limit of their capability. Climate change has imposed the need for farmer creativity and to search for alternative strategies to source water and use land more judiciously. July rains (imbotisamahlanga in SiSwati) used to help decompose crop residues; August rains facilitated early planting but there is no more consistency in the rains. The frequent droughts and a shift in rains has made it difficult to grow a wide range of crops; reduced production and increased levels of poverty along with food insecurity. Farmers have responded through water technologies, especially irrigation (to cope with water stresses) and, to a major extent, by adopting conservation agriculture to conserve soil and improve its fertility.
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