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Climate variability and change, smallholder farmer decision making, and food security in north-west Ghana

Dakurah, G. (2019) Climate variability and change, smallholder farmer decision making, and food security in north-west Ghana. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

This thesis investigates smallholder farmers’ cropping decisions under climate variability and change using the villages of Doggoh and Tie of North Ghana as a case study. With rainfall projected to decrease and temperatures expected to rise, it is essential to understand the impacts of farmers’ cropping decisions under climate variability and change on the availability and utilisation of culturally preferred foods. To that end, this study had three objectives: (i) to examine farmers’ perception of climate variability and change and see how farmer perceptions match and mismatch analysis of meteorological data; understand how farmer’ perception of CVC are socially differentiated; and understand how cultural values shape farmers’ perception of CVC, (ii) to characterise farmers’ responses to CVC and understand why farmers are adapting or not adapting to CVC via crop selection, and (iii) to understand the social uses of food and the impact of farmers’ adaptation to CVC on the availability and utilisation of culturally preferred foods. The study draws on the Theory of Drought Perception, the Theory of Planned Behaviour, and the Social Identity Theory as theoretical lenses to guide the presentation of results. Situating the fieldwork in North-west Ghana, the data collection for this study lasted for ten months (spanning from January to October 2016). To that end, mixed methods involving key informant interviews, semi-structured questionnaire, focus group discussions, and household case studies were used for the data collection. This involved 150 households for the semi-structured questionnaire (75 for each research village) and 34 household case studies (19 in the village of Doggoh and 15 in the village of Tie). The results revealed that farmers’ perceptions are not supported by the climatic data. Farmers observed a shift in the onset and cessation of rainfall from March to June and from November to October respectively. Farmers’ identified cultural factors as essential in explaining changes in their local climate. Having perceived changes in vii their local climate farmers have adapted by cultivating crops and crop varieties that are better suited to the prevailing changing climate. The only exception is that a few male-headed households continue to cultivate traditional varieties of groundnuts for cultural reasons even though such varieties produce less yield. Farmers reported changing diet patterns of culturally preferred foods as a result of the non-availability and less availability of culturally preferred food crops due to responses to climate variability and change. This study highlights the critical need for policymakers to be sensitive to the cultural foods of local people in the design of adaptation measures.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Osbahr, H. and Amall, A.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:85480
Date on Title Page:2018

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