Smallholder farmer coping and adaptation strategies during the 2015-18 drought in the Western Cape, South Africa

Fanadzo, M., Ncube, B., French, A., & Belete, A. (2021). Smallholder farmer coping and adaptation strategies during the 2015-18 drought in the Western Cape, South Africa. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C 124 (part 1) e102986. 10.1016/j.pce.2021.102986.

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Smallholder farmers are vulnerable and hardest hit by droughts in Africa. One of the main causes of the increased vulnerability is limited access to resources resulting in limited drought preparedness. The heterogeneous nature of smallholder farmers means that they deal with droughts differently. Responses to drought are context-specific depending on the socio-economic, political, and cultural dimensions, which make it difficult to generalize. However, information on smallholder farmer drought perceptions, impacts on livelihoods, and the way droughts are dealt with at farm-level is scarce and mostly site-specific. This paper presents the findings from a study conducted in the Western Cape Province, in South Africa. The main objective of the study was to assess the impacts of the 2015-18 drought on the smallholder farmer livelihoods, and the coping and adaptation strategies adopted. The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach was used to frame questions on the coping mechanisms used by farmers, and any other strategies developed to adapt to future droughts. The study adopted the qualitative research design and focused on 112 smallholder farmers in two districts. Face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions were used to collect data, which was analysed using Atlas. ti 8.1 for Windows. The results showed that ownership of assets and support from private and public organisations facilitates better coping and adaptation to drought. There were social networks in farmer groups, but their benefits did not go beyond the members. Further research is required to determine the best models of support to smallholder farmers to empower them for adaption to future droughts.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Livelihoods; Overberg district; West coast district; Water; Livestock
Research Programs: Population and Just Societies (POPJUS)
Population and Just Societies (POPJUS) > Equity and Justice (EQU)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2021 07:36
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2022 13:43

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