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Adaptation to climate change by smallholder farmers in Tanzania

26 September 2012
Publication Type: Working Paper
JEL Code: Q10, Q12, Q51, Q54, Q57

In Sub-Saharan Africa, climate change is set to hit the agricultural sector the most and cause untold suffering particularly for smallholder farmers. To cushion themselves against the potential welfare losses, smallholder farmers need to recognize the changes already taking place in their climate and undertake appropriate investments towards adaptation. This study investigates whether smallholder farmers in Tanzania recognize climate change and consequently adapt to it in their agricultural activities. The study also investigates the factors influencing their choice of adaptation methods to climate change. To do this, the study collected and analyzed data from 556 randomly selected households in a sample of districts representing the six agro-ecological regions of the country. The data shows that Tanzanian smallholder farmers have observed changes in mean and variance precipitation and temperature and responded to it. The farmers have generally used short season crops, drought-resistant crops, irrigation, planting dates and tree planting to adapt to the potential negative impacts of climate change on their agricultural yields. A binary logit model is used to investigate the factors influencing a famer’s decision to undertake any adaptation at all to climate change while a multinomial logit model is used to investigate the factors influencing farmers’ choice of specific adaptation methods. The Tanzanian government needs to help smallholder farmers overcome constraints they face in taking up adaptation to climate change. Furthermore, the government can play a significant role by promoting adaptation methods appropriate for particular circumstances e.g. particular crops or agro-ecological zones.

Working Paper 299
1 June 2012
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