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REPORT: Engaging Farmers and Climatologists in Adaptation to Climate Variability and Change in the Okavango Delta of Botswana

Over the last few decades, some agricultural areas in the Okavango Delta have experienced reduced rainfall resulting in drying up of streambeds. These same areas have also been subjected to inundations from heavy rainfall events that occur upstream in the headwaters of the Limpopo and Okavango Rivers. This study will examine the link between climate variability, agricultural production and farmers’ livelihoods, and it will identify opportunities for and hurdles to integrating local and traditional knowledge with scientific knowledge around the issue of seasonal climate forecasts and other measures to address adaptation needs.

This report, Engaging Farmers and Climatologists in Adaptation to Climate Variability and Change in the Okavango Delta of Botswana, will generate data and establish a base to integrate knowledge of farmers and climatologists for weather forecasting and adaptation to climate change in the Ngamiland of northwestern Botswana. The goal is to build a farmer-scientist-extension working relationship to mitigate climate change risks to farmer livelihoods. The in-depth paper produced as part of the project specifically addresses the questions of how local farmers and weather scientists can work together in order to mitigate climate change and variability in the Okavango Delta of Botswana.

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This project and publication has been produced as part of the START call for research on the theme of ‘Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security’ in Africa, with an emphasis on the sustainability of ecosystem services in Africa. Objectives of this call are to commission high quality, independent, policy-relevant and credible research to support policy making for sustainable development in the region, to build the capacities of regional research partners to conduct high level research and to create a platform for knowledge sharing at the regional level. The funding has been provided by US National Science Foundation, Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and CDKN.

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Research call information: Regional Research Call – Africa

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