Effect of climate variability on the livelihoods of livestock farmers in Sembabule District
Kateregga, Payne Kagenyi
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Climate variability is a major threat facing humanity. The livestock stock production sector as a livelihood option is one key sector which will face the brunt of these variations in climatic conditions. Farmers respond to the negative influence of climate variability by implementing different adaptation strategies, where choices are informed by many factors. This study aims at analyzing the adaptation strategies of cattle farmers in Sembabule district with regard to climate variability. For that matter, the study employed the cross section design method. The tools of data collection included the use of questionnaire, key observations and interviewing key informants. 30 cattle farmers from Ntuusi and Mateete sub counties were surveyed. The farmers were from 5 different parishes of the sub counties that included Ntuusi, Kalushonshomezi of Ntusi and Mateete, Kayunga and Manyama of Mateete Sub County. Data collected were related to the demographic and socio economic characteristics of the cattle farmers, their perception and adaptation methods to climate variability and change. The data collected were subjected to frequency, percentages and binary logistic regression analyses. The results showed that livestock farmers were partly aware of climate variability, especially with increase in temperature and reduced rainfall amounts that have negatively affected on pasture quality and availability plus causing water shortages. The most important adaptation strategies opted for by the cattle farmers were transhumance (mobility), integration of livestock and crop husbandry, provision of concentrated feed, reduction of herd size, livestock diversification and off farm activities. Farming experience, cattle herd size, level of education, poverty, household size, climate variations, agricultural extension services and support and land tenure system were the major variables affecting farmers’ adaptation strategies. From this study, we recommend that creating awareness on the changing parameters of weather is necessary in providing the communities with relevant information to prepare and develop sustainable adaptation strategies. Key word; climate variability, climate change, livestock, adaptation strategies.