Information needs for climate change adaptation among farmers in Mubende district
Mutesasira, George william
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In sub Saharan Africa, agriculture is majorly rain fed and therefore vulnerable to the impacts of climate change which are manifested as frequent, intense and prolonged dry spells, droughts, floods, increased temperatures and higher incidences of pests and diseases. In order to adapt and cope with these impacts, farmers need accurate and timely information. It is however not well known if the information currently available to farmers meets this criterion. The objectives of the study were to: i) assess the timeliness and reliability of the information received by the farmers for climate change adaptation, and ii) identify types of climate change information needed by farmers in Mubende district. The study employed cross sectional survey design. One hundred and one households were randomly selected and interviewed about information received and currently needed to respond to the impacts of climate change. Results show that 91% of the respondents are experiencing drought while 90% acknowledged experiencing unexpectedly high amounts of rainfall. In response to drought, only 22% considered information on alternative crops to grow being timely while only 16% acknowledged that this information was reliable. A few respondents considered information on irrigation (3%), availability of money for farm investment (7%) and soil water conservation (10%) as reliable. In response to unexpectedly high rainfall, only 17% of the respondents considered information on seed drying techniques as timely and reliable. Only a few respondents considered information on techniques for draining excess water, (13%) and alternative crops (40%) as being reliable. The information that farmers needed most and that they lacked to respond to drought included, accurate and timely information on onset of rains (97%), and crops to grow that withstand drought (73%). In order to respond to unexpectedly high rainfall, farmers needed information on, techniques for harvesting and storage of excess water (71%) and techniques for drying seeds (71%). These results indicate a generally low timeliness and reliability of information on different climate change adaptation practices among farmers. Additionally, respondents revealed high desire for getting this information, implying that there is urgent need for more dissemination of the information as well as enhancement of farmers’-extension service delivery in Mubende.