Farmers’ Perception, Impact and Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change among Smallholder Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review

Seid Sani


Climate change remains the major threat for smallholder farmers in Africa that undermines sustainable development efforts towards achieving the sustainable development goals. This paper reviews the empirical literature on farmers’ perceptions of climate change, its adverse effects on farmers’ livelihood and adaptation strategies in sub-Sahara Africa. It is evident that the majority of farmers in sub-Sahara Africa are aware of climate change which manifests itself as changes in temperatures and precipitation patterns. To cope up the adverse effects of climate change, farmers have adopted crop diversification, planting different crop varieties, changing planting and harvesting dates to correspond to the changing pattern of precipitation, irrigation, planting tree crops, water and soil conservation techniques and switching to non-farm income activities. However, choice of adaptation strategies differs between countries, regions, and households. At household level, most of the empirical evidence revealed that age, gender of household head, farming experience, household size, years of formal education, access to credit facilities, distance from market, access to extension services and access to off-farm income generating activities are the most important factors influencing farmers’ decision regarding climate change adaptation and choice of adaptation strategies. Improving adaptation capacity of farmers in the region calls for support from African governments to improve farmers; access to non/off-farm income sources, training, information, extension services, among others. Governments and non-government organizations need to promote investment on climate smart and resilient practices such as agro forestry, conservation agriculture, etc.

Keywords: climate change, farmers’ perceptions, impact, adaptations, sub-Saharan Africa

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