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Volume 5, Issue 2, April 2016, Page: 26-38
Characterizing and Explaining Smallholder Households’ Views and Understanding of Climate Change in the Bongo District of Ghana
Philip Aniah, Department of Development Studies, Faculty of Integrated Development Studies, University for Development Studies, Wa, Upper West Region, Ghana
Millar Katherine Kaunza-Nu-Dem, Department of Planning, Faculty of Planning and Land Management, University for Development Studies, Wa, Upper West Region, Ghana
Bernard Awinbugri Abindaw, Department of Development Studies, Faculty of Integrated Development Studies, University for Development Studies, Wa, Upper West Region, Ghana
David Millar, Department of African and General Studies, University for Development Studies, Wa, Upper West Region, Ghana
Received: Mar. 17, 2016;       Accepted: Mar. 25, 2016;       Published: May 4, 2016
DOI: 10.11648/j.earth.20160502.12      View  4356      Downloads  195
Abstract
Africa is amongst the most susceptible regions to climate change and this situation is intensified by the interaction of ‘multiple stresses’ and the low adaptive capacity of smallholder households. Agricultural production and livelihood security in many African countries are severely weakened by climate change. The paper seeks to contribute to the growing empirical and policy discourse on climate change by examining smallholder households’ views and understanding of climate change. The research combined qualitative methods (FGD’s, historical timelines and interviews) with a quantitative method (survey) and analyzed the data using descriptive and inferential statistics such as percentages, trend analysis and bivariate correlations to investigate the relationships and differences of the variables. The results indicate that smallholder households believe that the rainfall pattern of the Bongo district is characterized by erratic rainfall, reduced rainfall, late onset, short duration and high temperature which have resulted in significant crop failure. The results further show that smallholder households associate climate change to bush burning, deforestation {hegemonic representation} whiles others associate climate change to breaking of taboos and the disrespect for the beliefs, spirits, gods (life forces) {polemic representation}. Over 95% of household believe climate change poses severe negative consequences for their farming activities and livelihoods {emancipated representation}. These perceptions by smallholder households were corroborated by rainfall and temperature records from the Ghana Meteorological Agency in the Bongo district. Livelihood diversification strategies, including off-farm income sources should be robustly pursued and more specific and targeted climate adaptation policies needs to be formulated by policy makers to reduce the vulnerabilities of smallholder households whose livelihoods depend largely on rain-fed agriculture.
Keywords
Climate Change, Smallholder Households, Perceptions, Social Representations, Bongo District, Ghana
To cite this article
Philip Aniah, Millar Katherine Kaunza-Nu-Dem, Bernard Awinbugri Abindaw, David Millar, Characterizing and Explaining Smallholder Households’ Views and Understanding of Climate Change in the Bongo District of Ghana, Earth Sciences. Vol. 5, No. 2, 2016, pp. 26-38. doi: 10.11648/j.earth.20160502.12
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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