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Adaptation to climate change and other stressors among commercial and small-scale South African farmers
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research. Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Department of Water and Environmental Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Hydrological Unit, Swedish Meterological and Hydrological Institute, Norrköping, Sweden.
The School of Bioresources Engineering & Environmental Hydrology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Scottsville, South Africa .
2013 (English)In: Regional Environmental Change, ISSN 1436-3798, E-ISSN 1436-378X, Vol. 13, no 2, 273-286 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Commercial and small-scale farmers in South Africa are exposed to many challenges. Interviews with 44 farmers in the upper Thukela basin, KwaZulu-Natal, were conducted to identify common and specific challenges for the two groups and adaptive strategies for dealing with the effects of climate and other stressors. This work was conducted as part of a larger participatory project with local stakeholders to develop a local adaptation plan for coping with climate variability and change. Although many challenges related to exposure to climate variability and change, weak agricultural policies, limited governmental support, and theft were common to both farming communities, their adaptive capacities were vastly different. Small-scale farmers were more vulnerable due to difficulties to finance the high input costs of improved seed varieties and implements, limited access to knowledge and agricultural techniques for water and soil conservation and limited customs of long-term planning. In addition to temperature and drought-related challenges, small-scale farmers were concerned about soil erosion, water logging and livestock diseases, challenges for which the commercial farmers already had efficient adaptation strategies in place. The major obstacle hindering commercial farmers with future planning was the lack of clear directives from the government, for example, with regard to issuing of water licences and land reform. Enabling agricultural communities to procure sustainable livelihoods requires implementation of strategies that address the common and specific challenges and strengthen the adaptive capacity of both commercial and small-scale farmers. Identified ways forward include knowledge transfer within and across farming communities, clear governmental directives and targeted locally adapted finance programmes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2013. Vol. 13, no 2, 273-286 p.
Keyword [en]
climate change, adaptive capacity, small-scale farmers, sustainable agriculture, water resources management, vulnerability, South Africa
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-89158DOI: 10.1007/s10113-012-0323-4ISI: 000316782500005OAI: diva2:607545
Participatory Modelling for Assessment of Local Impact of Climate Variability and Change on Water Resources
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Available from: 2013-02-24 Created: 2013-02-24 Last updated: 2016-06-16

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