Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change in Hoima District
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Because of high speed at which climate change is happening, most households especially in farming communities are very vulnerable to climate change and its impacts. Therefore, there is need to reduce the vulnerability of communities and households and increase their capacity to adapt. To achieve this, there is need for a strong information base in order to raise awareness among the people. This study was therefore aimed at providing information/ knowledge of the impacts of climate change on households and how they cope up with these impacts as well as providing information on the factors affecting the adaptation process. Due to increased dry spells and shifts in rainfall patterns in Hoima district, rain fed agriculture which is the main economic activity in the area has been exposed to weather and climatic adverse impacts hence increasing vulnerability of rural livelihoods/ farmers. Since adaptation process is costly generally, the resource poor peasant farmers can hardly adopt since adaptation is influenced by economic conditions, social networks, institutions and governance, human resources and technology which are to a big extent lacking. A mixed study design approach was used with a stratified random sampling technique in the four parishes of Kitoba Sub County, Hoima district. Household interviews using Questionnaires were then conducted.Content analysis was used to analyze qualitative data. The findings of this study show that the first rain season has not changed compared to the past seasons. However, the second rain season has become shorter with rain tending to disappear earlier in October/ November period unlike the past when rains extended toward the Christmas/ December period. Therefore, it is clear that the second dry spell has increased of recent compared to the past. The impacts of such changes that were noted have been felt in agriculture in form of erratic heavy rains, flooding in gardens, hailstones, increased crop pests and diseases and crop failure and hence low yields. Shortage or loss of water as most of the water sources tend to dry up and this was evidenced by 98.7% of respondents who said they currently face water use challenges. A small fraction of households have developed coping measures to adapt to the changing climatic conditions through mulching, early planting/change of planting dates, mixed cropping, planting 9 perennial crops, use of improved varieties, agro forestry and crop rotation.The low rate of adaptation to climate change among the rural farmers were attributed to factors such as low education levels, poverty, small size of households, small size of farms, limited farming experience and lack of awareness on the availability of climate change program. Therefore, there is a greater risk of food insecurity posed by climatic changes since farmers are not yet ready to adapt to these impacts in Hoima district.