Smallholder farmer’s perceived effects of climate change on crop production and household livelihoods in rural Limpopo province, South Africa
This study investigated the perceived effects of climate change on crop production and household livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Mopani and Vhembe district, South Africa. Data was collected through a questionnaire administered to 150 smallholder farmers. The questionnaires were complemented by 8 focus group discussions and secondary data. Multinomial logit regression model was used to analyse the factors influencing smallholder farmers’ choice of climate change adaptation strategies. The study findings revealed that subsistence farmers perceived prolonged droughts (56.4%) as the main shock stressing crop production. Droughts often lead to low crop yield and high crop failure (73.3%). In response to the prevailing climatic conditions different gender adopted different strategies, 41% of female farmers adapted by changing planting dates, while male farmers employed crop variety and diversification (35%) and mixed cropping (15%). The smallholder farmers were vulnerable with limited adaptive capacity to withstand climate change due to compromised social, human, physical, natural and financial assets. The results showed that smallholder farmers tend to adapt better when they have access to extension officers (P<0.01). Therefore, it is important for the government to strengthen the relationship between smallholder farmers and extension officers for better climate change adaptation.