Climate Variability Since 1970 and Farmers’ Observations in Northern Ghana
- Emmanuel Nyadzi
The study examines how farmers’ observations of climate variability and change correspond with 42 years (1970-2011) meteorological data of temperature and rainfall. It shows how farmers in the Northern Region of Ghana adjust to the changing climate and explore the various obstacles that hinder the implementation of their adaptation strategies. With the help of an extension officer, 200 farmers from 20 communities were randomly selected based on their farming records. Temperatures over the last four decades (1970-2009) increased at a rate of 0.04 (± 0.41) ˚C and 0.3(± 0.13)˚C from 2010-2011 which is consistent to the farmers (82.5%) observations. Rainfall within the districts are characterised by inter-annual and monthly variability. It experienced an increased rate of 0.66 (± 8.30) mm from 1970-2009, which was inconsistent with the farmers (81.5%) observation. It however decreased from 2010-2011 at a huge rate of -22.49 (±15.90) mm which probably was the reason majority of the respondents claim rainfall was decreasing. Only 64.5% of the respondents had adjusted their farming activities because of climate variability and change. They apply fertilizers and pesticides, practice soil and water conservation, and irrigation for communities close to dams. Respondents desire to continue their current adaptation methods but may in the future consider changing crop variety, water-harvesting techniques, change crop production to livestock keeping, and possibly migrate to urban centers. Lack of climate change education, low access to credit and agricultural inputs are some militating factors crippling the farmers’ effort to adapt to climate change.
- Joan LeeEditorial Assistant