Effect of Climate Variability and Change on Agro-Based Livelihoods in Ogolai Sub-County, Amuria District in Teso Sub-Region
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Rain-fed agriculture forms the back bone of many rural communities in Africa. However, there an increasing trend in rainfall variability and associated extreme events in form of drought and floods, and a growing uncertainty about rainfall onset and cessation. Farm households in Uganda have always been affected by these uncertainties. This study aimed to determine the trend in rainfall and temperature in Ogolai sub-county located in Amuria district in Teso sub-region, perceived effect of rainfall seasonality on farmers’ livelihood options and coping strategies of farmers to the effect of climate variability and change. Mann Kendall trend test and Sen’s slope estimator were used to detect the presence and magnitude of trends in rainfall and temperature while CV and Standard anomalies were used to determine rainfall and temperature variability. Correlation analysis together with descriptive statistics were used to analyze the effect of climate variability and change on farmers’ livelihoods options and coping strategies of farmers to effects of climate variability and change. The results show a non-significant increase in mean annual rainfall of 4.3 mm/year, and a significant increase of 2.3 mm/year in the area over the study period. There were non-statistically significant trends for mean annual and annual maximum temperatures with an annual change of -0.01°C and -0.03°C respectively. On the other hand, there was a non-statistically significant increase in minimum annual temperatures at a rate of 0.004°C per year. Crop losses, pest and disease infestation, animal mortality, water scarcity among others were some of the effects of climate variability and change reported in Ogolai sub-county. Farmers’ interventions on livelihood sources whenever there was any seasonal shift in rainfall were majorly on crop and livestock. The effect of droughts in the study area have had more devastating effects on farmers’ livelihood activities than any other climatic hazard. Government interventions in form of capacity building, provision financial assistance to farmers among others should be put in place so as to stabilize farmers’ incomes and consequently reduce poverty in Ogolai sub-county. Given the growing uncertainties in rainfall onset and cessation, the Uganda National Meteorological Association should also provide adequate and timely climate information to farmers so as to enable proper planning.