Original Research

The double tragedy of agriculture vulnerability to climate variability in Africa: How vulnerable is smallholder agriculture to rainfall variability in Ghana?

Emmanuel K. Derbile, Dramani J.M. File, Alfred Dongzagla
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 8, No 3 | a249 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v8i3.249 | © 2016 Emmanuel K. Derbile, Dramani J.M. File, Alfred Dongzagla | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 September 2015 | Published: 19 April 2016

About the author(s)

Emmanuel K. Derbile, Department of Planning and Management, University for Development Studies, Ghana
Dramani J.M. File, National Disaster Management Organization, Wa, Ghana
Alfred Dongzagla, Department of Planning and Management, University for Development Studies, Ghana


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Abstract

This article analysed vulnerability of smallholder agriculture to climate variability, particularly the alternating incidences of drought and heavy precipitation events in Ghana. Although there is an unmet need for understanding the linkages between climate change and livelihoods, the urgent need for climate change adaptation planning (CCAP) in response to climate change makes vulnerability assessment even more compelling in development research. The data for analysis were collected from two complementary studies. These included a regional survey in the Upper West Region and an in-depth study in three selected communities in the Sissala East District. The results showed that smallholder agriculture is significantly vulnerable to climate variability in the region and that three layers of vulnerability can be identified in a ladder of vulnerability. Firstly, farmers are confronted with the double tragedy of droughts and heavy precipitation events, which adversely affect both crops and livestock. Secondly, farmers have to decide on crops for adaptation, but each option – whether indigenous crops, new early-maturing crops or genetically modified crops – predisposes farmers to a different set of risks. Finally, the overall impact is a higher-level vulnerability, namely the risk of total livelihood failure and food insecurity. The article recommended CCAP and an endogenous development (ED) approach to addressing agriculture vulnerability to climate variability within the framework of decentralisation and local governance in Ghana.

Keywords: Climate variability; agriculture; vulnerability; endogenous development; Ghana


Keywords

Climate variability; agriculture; vulnerability; endogenous development; Ghana

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