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Smallholder farmers’ perceptions of climate change and conservation agriculture: evidence from Zambia

Actors involved in promoting conservation agriculture have often not taken into account the perceptions of smallholder farmers of climate change and conservation agriculture as an adaptation strategy. This study documents smallholder farmers’ perceptions of climate change and conservation agriculture in Zambia.

The paper states that smallholder farmers in Zambia are aware of climate change through their experiences. Main findings include:

  • most smallholder farmers in Zambia perceive shifts in the timing of seasons, increase in temperature, droughts and floods
  • smallholder farmers’ perceptions related to floods and droughts are significantly associated with adoption of conservation agriculture
  • the extent to which smallholder farmers perceive conservation agriculture as a climate change adaptation strategy is very low
  • this suggests existence of other important reasons for practicing conservation agriculture than adaptation to climate change

 

Policy implications of the study are that:

  • conservation agriculture projects should not only focus on technical approaches to increase adoption rates but also consider social aspects such as perceptions
  • projects should include climate change communication to facilitate exchange of climatic information in order to enable smallholder farmers to relate to conservation agriculture as an adaptation strategy