The contribution of indigenous knowledge to climate change adaptation among smallholder farmers in Ruteete Sub County, Kabarole District
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Climate change has become a serious challenge across the world. The challenges are most faced by developing countries and are mainly associated with food insecurity. Adaptation has been seen as the most viable option to cub its effects to local people‟s livelihoods. This study examined the role of indigenous knowledge (IK) to climate change adaptation specifically focusing on Ruteete Sub County in Western Uganda. It focused on examining the indigenous ways of weather forecasting: documenting IK adaptation practices and the different benefits achieved from the use of IK practices to adapt to climate change. Data was collected through individual interviews with the help of a structured questionnaire. This study found vegetation changes, changes in animal behavior and other atmospheric indicators being used to observe and monitor changes in the atmosphere. The research also found early planting, water harvesting and land fallowing as the used adaptation strategies to the changing climate to ensure increased yields from agriculture as well as reducing their vulnerability to climate change effects. These adaptation practices have generated benefits to farmers such as increased agricultural output, improved household income and adequate water for use. The study noted that IK still plays an important role in increasing smallholder farmers‟ adaptation and resilience capacities to climate change and variability effects and has ensured household food security in the area. Therefore, there is need for long term studies to validate indigenous knowledge and integrate it with the scientific knowledge so as to reduce local farmers‟ vulnerability, increase resilience and strengthen their adaptive capacity to cope up with climate change effects. This documentation process will also help to equip the next generation with this knowledge for improved standards of living and strengthen food security in the area.