Farmers and policy-makers’ perceptions of climate change in Ethiopia

Article


Hameso, S. 2017. Farmers and policy-makers’ perceptions of climate change in Ethiopia. Climate and Development. 10 (4), pp. 347-359.
AuthorsHameso, S.
Abstract

Climate change is one of the most urgent and complex challenges for societies and economies. Left unaddressed it contains the potential to compromise the well-being of the current and future generations. Smallholder farmers who depend on rain-fed agriculture are heavily affected and it is important to understand what they think about the problem and its impacts so that remedial measures can be tailored to address the same. Hence this study explores how farmers and policy-makers in Ethiopia conceived climate change, factors contributing to it and its impacts. The study is based on a field research conducted from January to May 2012 in Sidama’s three agroecological zones (AEZs), namely, the highlands, midlands and lowlands. It deployed both qualitative and quantitative research method. Data collection involved (a) semi-structured interviews with 15 farmers and 17 policy-makers, (b) focus group discussion with 30 farmers, and (c) a survey of 120 farmers. The novelty of the study lies in exploring and comparing two sets of views (that of local people and the policy-makers) on climate change. Findings revealed that farmers clearly perceived climate risks based on their experience and knowledge of their local environment. The commonly cited indicators of change include high temperature, rainfall, seasonal shifts and incidence of certain diseases. Farmers also identified specific indicators such as change in wind direction, disappearance of plant (crop and tree) species, growing hitherto unfamiliar crops and emergence of new parasites and weeds. Their perceptions of causes of climate change are mixed: deforestation, God’s wrath, human activities, and weakened indigenous practices and values. On the other hand, participants from policy-making community espoused views shared by scientific discourse such as deforestation, global warming and CO2 emissions. The gap in understanding needs to be bridged by information and education of the local public with the policy-makers paying attention to the importance of indigenous knowledge.

Keywordsclimate change; smallholder farmers; perceptions; vulnerability; adaptation; Sidama; Ethiopia
JournalClimate and Development
Journal citation10 (4), pp. 347-359
ISSN1756-5529
1756-5537
Year2017
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/17565529.2017.1291408
Web address (URL)http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17565529.2017.1291408
Publication dates
Print01 Mar 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited23 Mar 2017
Accepted11 Aug 2016
Accepted11 Aug 2016
Copyright informationThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Climate and Development on 01/03/2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17565529.2017.1291408
LicenseAll rights reserved
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Related outputs

Perceptions, Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in Ethiopia: The Case of Smallholder Farmers in Sidama
Hameso, S. 2015. Perceptions, Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in Ethiopia: The Case of Smallholder Farmers in Sidama. PhD Thesis University of East London Social Sceiences
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