Adaptation of farmers to climate change in Ohangwena Region, Namibia

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This study aimed to establish an understanding of the local adaptation and coping mechanisms in relation to flood impacts on agriculture in the Ohangwena Region. This was necessitated by the fact that the region experienced heavy floods between 2008 and 2009, which are attributed to climate variability and change in Namibia. Nevertheless, since the region also experiences drought as a result of climate variability, the study has lightly touched on them, however, it mainly paid particular attention to the floods. In general, climate in Namibia is variable, with increasing variability in temperature and rainfall patterns. As a result, rural communities in northern Namibia have become vulnerable to climate variability. The latter mainly depend on agriculture for subsistence, the source of food security which is vulnerable to the climatic events of floods and droughts. One of the major factors that have contributed to communities' vulnerability to floods is the fact that many farmers have settled in flood prone areas. With the realization that rural communities are vulnerable to the two climatic events, it was deemed necessary to identify the coping strategies currently in place in order to strengthen them. This will help the communities to be able to respond to the changing environmental circumstances in the long-term. Enhancing the adaptive capacities for communities to respond to the impacts of climate variability and change on agriculture has also been considered essential by this study. Consequently the study placed some efforts in proposing future adaptation strategies for climate change, which will allow farmers to effectively address the impacts of climate change in future. This was made possible by consultations with farmers in four constituencies in the Ohangwena Region, namely: Eenhana, Endola, Odibo and Ongenga, through focus group sessions. The farmers in these constituencies shed some light on the climate variability within the region, on the impact of climate variability and change on agriculture, as well as on the coping strategies that are currently being implemented within the region.

Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Centre for Development Support at the University of the Free State
Degree Masters Degree in Development Studies
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