Awareness needs for climate change adaptation among smallholder farmers in Rubirizi district
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The process of climate change adaptation planning and implementation is hindered by lack of awareness of effective impact responses options among smallholder farmers. Moreover, their awareness needs are not well understood and documented. The main objective of this study was to assess smallholder farmers’ awareness needs for adaptation planning and implementation of climate change adaptation responses. Semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect data from 90 randomly selected smallholder farmer households on demographics, climate change impacts, awareness and factors influencing planning and implementation of climate change adaptation responses. Almost all the surveyed households have experienced and observed climate change and its impacts especially, pests affecting crops (75.6%), plant diseases (81%). From the study findings, only 1.1% of the respondents were aware of the critical adaptation responses to too much and/or unexpected rainfall like planting on ridges. Surprisingly none of the respondents was aware of drought adaptation responses like use of waste water and water harvesting. A bigger percentage of farmers were aware of some of the drought adaptation responses like irrigation (92.1%), changing crop varieties (86.5%), agroforestry (78.7%), tree planting (77.5%) and planting early maturing crops (55.1%). Results of multiple regression revealed significant influence of sex (t = 1.606, p =0.014), level of education (t = 1.020, p = 0.045), technical support (t = -2.565, p = 0.012), access to training (t = -2.246, p = 0.027) and seek climate change adaptation finance (t = -1.976, p = 0.032) on awareness needs adaptation planning and implementation of adaptation responses. The findings from the study indicate that farmers’ awareness needs were mostly on more efficient and effective irrigation methods in times of water scarcity; crop varieties that are more resistant to drought, different types of agroforestry trees; methods, techniques and equipment’s for water harvesting; access to climate change finance; techniques of collecting and using waste water for agriculture; types of mulching materials; construction of underground water dams; increase on the number of extension workers; timely and accurate information on climate and weather forecast. The study recommends development and improvement of crop varieties, irrigation systems, water harvesting techniques, improved access to technical support, information dissemination and access to finance for better planning and implementation of adaptation responses.