Role of Local Policies in Facilitating Adaptation of Smallholder Farming to Climate Change in Uganda

Revocatus Twinomuhangi, Carolyn Natuhwera, Edidah L. Ampaire


The research was funded by a USAID project entitled ‘Enhancing Climate Resilience of Agricultural Livelihoods’ that was implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA in partnership with Makerere University Centre for Climate Research and Innovation (MUCCRI) and the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO). The CGIAR program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) provided additional support.


Smallholder farming in Sub-Saharan Africa is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and supportive local policies and plans are needed guide climate resilient farming systems. This study explores how local policies are enabling adaptation of smallholder farming to the impacts of climate change in Uganda. A mixed methods approach was used including review of policies and other literature, field assessments conducted Eastern and Central regions of Uganda. Data was collected from smallholder farmers, government officials and non-state actors at district, sub-county and village levels. Findings reveal that whereas Uganda has an elaborate national climate change policy framework that prioritizes the mainstreaming of climate change in policies and practices at all levels of government, development policies and plans at the local levels have not yet adequately incorporated climate change, and the adaptation practices adopted by smallholder farmers to address the negative impacts of climate change are more reactionary, and are not guided or influenced by local adaptation policies. Effective local adaptation policy and practice is constrained by non-inclusive policy formulation processes, institutional and human resource gaps, climate finance and unreliable climate information and advisory services. We suggest the strengthening local adaptive capacity through inclusive local adaptation policy formulation and implementation, improved climate information services and strong local institutional framework to support smallholder farmers build resilience to climate change.

Keywords: climate risks, vulnerability, local adaption policies, resilient agriculture, Uganda

DOI: 10.7176/JEES/9-11-09

Publication date: November 30th 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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