Assessment of climate variability and its implication on black bean yield variations in Kitgum district, Northern Uganda
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Climate variability poses a threat to the sustainability of agricultural production particularly black bean production among local farmers in Kitgum district. Understanding climate variability and its implication on black bean yield variation is crucial in designing realistic strategies for agricultural development and food security. The objectives of this study were; (i) examine seasonal variation in rainfall and temperature, (ii) assess the effects of climate variability on black bean crop, and (iii) determine smallholder farmers’ adaptation strategies to the effects of climate variability. Satellite and a cross-sectional survey research design was employed to collect data from 60 randomly selected smallholder farmers’ household heads across the districts by the administration of a semi- structured questionnaire. Use of coefficient of variation (CV) and simple linear regression were deployed to examine seasonal variation and trend while descriptive statistical analysis was used to handle farmer’s perceptions and adaptation strategies to the effects of climate change. Results indicated low variation in temperature with percentage of CV ranging from 0.35 – 2.04% and 0.20 – 7.10% for maximum and minimum temperature respectively and very high variation in rainfall with CV ranging from 2.45 – 161.37%. The trend also indicated increase in both temperature and rainfall, and the rate of increase for temperature was low by 0.049 oC & 0.098 oC per month for maximum temperature and minimum temperature respectively, the rate of increase in rainfall was high by 3.798 mm per month from year 2008 – 2022. Positive impact of climate variability was increase in bean yields due to low CV of 9 months from March to November and negative impacts were reduced growing seasons, increased frequency of floods and droughts, and prevalence of crop diseases due to increased temperature, increased rainfall intensity, decreased rainfall duration and decreased rainfall events. The most adaptation strategies practiced against negative impacts of climate variability were farming near rivers, low lands and hills but irrigation was in smaller extend because of high dependent on rainfall. In addition, the strategies were not all that effective due to limited access to modern agricultural technology. It was concluded that, the study area is dry with low humidity since minimum temperature varies greatly at higher rate than maximum temperature and black bean yields depends on the balance in rainy days, intensity of rainfall and temperature rise, therefor, there is called for financial support from government to improve on the future adaptation strategies.