Gendered impacts of climate change among smallholder farmers in Mpatta Sub-county, Mukono district
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Agriculture is the major economic activity for Uganda employing more than 80% of the population with over 69% practicing subsistence agriculture as their main source of livelihood. Agriculture performance fluctuates with changes in weather conditions and little research has been documented to illustrate the gendered impacts of these climate fluctuations. This study explored the gendered impacts, adaptation options and adaptation challenges to climate change in Mpatta sub-county, Mukono district. Objectives of the study were: i) to find out the gendered impacts of climate change on smallholder farming practices; ii) to identify the gendered climate change adaptation strategies among smallholder farmers; iii) to find out the gendered based challenges experienced as a result of climate change adaptation strategies and iv) to propose appropriate gendered strategies that can be adopted to improve farmers‟ resilience to climate change impacts. The data was collected using structured questionnaires. The study adopted a survey research design which accommodated both the qualitative and quantitative methods. Both purposive and random sampling methods were used to obtain 53 respondents. Data was collected using questionnaires, photography cameras and observation. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and content analysis. The results of the study indicated that the farming practices of all respondents were impacted by climate change. Climate change has heavily had serious negative impacts on the female smallholder farmers than the male smallholder farmers for example female smallholder farmers highly experience impacts in crop growing like reduced yields (100.0%) than male smallholder farmers with (88.9%) and the female smallholder farmers highly experience inaccessibility of water (88.5%) than male counterparts with (44.4%). Respondents practice a wide range of coping and adaptation strategies where they differ according to gender for example male smallholder farmers mostly use adaptation strategies such as application of pesticides (81.5%), increase in land tillage (96.3%) and rain water harvesting (85.2%) while female smallholder farmers mostly use intercropping (88.5%), change of planting dates (80.8%), crop rotation (92.3%), storing of food (92.3%) and reducing water usage (96.3). Male smallholder farmers have benefitted more from the government initiatives like provision/access to certified seeds (66.7%) compared to female counterparts with (7.7%). The female smallholder farmers have faced more challenges as a result of the climate change adaptation strategies than the male smallholder farmers like limited capital, limited skills and small pieces of land. The proposed strategies that can be adopted to improve farmer‟s resilience to climate change impacts were aimed more at benefitting female smallholder farmers. Therefore, this study concluded that Mpatta sub-county like many other African farming communities, female farmers are highly affected by climate change effects and face a lot of problems in trying to adapt.