Analyses of perceptions and adaptations to climate change by rice farmers: case study in the Ashanti and Northern Regions of Ghana

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Climate change is becoming a serious global problem that is expected to pose a serious threat on the environment and many sectors of economic growth such as agricultural production and food security and especially on rural farmers whose livelihoods depend on the use of natural resources are likely to bear the burden of the adverse impacts. The extent to which these impacts are felt depends in large part on the extent of adaptation in response to climate change perceived by farmers. This study analyses the perceptions and adaptations of rice farmers to climate change in the Ashanti and Northern regions of Ghana. To carry out this analysis, a multinomial logit model, in which the choices of rice farmers' adaptations to climate change are specified to be a function of socioeconomic and institutional variables, and is estimated using the maximum likelihood method. Cross sectional data was collected from a sample of 249 rice farmers from the Adansi South district, Ahafo Ano South district and the Tolon-Kumbungu districts. The results show that rice farmers in all the surveyed districts are aware of the changing climatic conditions, and recognize climate change. The overall perception index (CBPI) of sampled rice farmers about climate change across the surveyed districts is 0.5, suggesting that rice farmers have a positive perception about climate change and as well agree to most of the perception statements about climate change. Hence, they are always willing to put measures in place to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. The main adaptation strategies used by rice farmers are migrating to urban areas, diversification of crop, making of bonds (irrigation) and engaging in off-farm jobs. The results reveal that age significantly but negatively affects the decision of farmers to make bonds on their rice fields as well as migrate to the urban area when faced with climate variability. Policy should therefore aim at encouraging and motivating the young people to go into the rice farming business. Farm size also had negative influence on a farmer ’s choice of vi making bonds his rice field. It is therefore recommended that the bonding method of irrigation on rice fields is improved and mechanized as farmers with very large rice fields are not able to invest in the method. Off-farm income negatively influence the likelihood of a rice farmer making bonds, migrating as well as diversifying his crop types. Rice farmers should properly manage their off-farm income-earning opportunities so that these jobs do not interfere with their farm activities. The size of a rice farmer's household, distance from house to farm, educational level, farming experience and land acquisition were all found to negatively influence a farmer's choice of an adaptation strategy. However, gender and fixed agreement between land owner and the rice farmer positively influence a farmer's choice of adaptation to climate change. It is recommended that land acquisition and property rights should be clearly defined to both land owners and rice farmers. Lack of financial resources, High cost of labor and inputs and transportation problems are the most pressing problems facing rice producers in the surveyed districts. The study therefore recommends that policies that would improve access to credit, extension service delivery, off-farm jobs, land acquisition and property rights should be pursued.
A thesis submitted to The Department of Agricultural Economics, Agribusiness and Extension, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy,