Smallholder Farmers’ Perception of Climate Change Versus Meteorological Data in Semi-arid Areas of Iringa District, Tanzania

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The ongoing changes in global climate threaten the sources of livelihood, especially among smallholder farmers in poor parts of the world. Smallholder farmers need to recognize the changes in climate already taking place in their areas and undertake appropriate investments towards adaptation. The coping and adaptation strategies of the farmers are linked to a very large extent with their perception on climate change and its impacts. The main objective of this study is to examine smallholder farmers’ perception of climate change vis-á-vis meteorological data. Specifically this paper answers the following research questions: how smallholder farmers perceive climate change, what are the meteorological data of the study area, and how meteorological data link with smallholder farmers’ perception to climate change. The study was carried out in semi-arid areas of Iringa District. The research design was cross sectional. A multistage sampling procedure was applied to select divisions, wards, villages and households. Ismani and Pawaga Divisions of Iringa District were purposefully selected based on their climatic conditions. A total of 240 respondents were drawn randomly from eight villages. Data were collected through household survey, key informant interviews, observation and focus group discussions methods. Meteorological data were collected from Tanzania Meteorological Agency. Quantitative data were analyzed through SPSS and qualitative data through content analysis. Instant Statistical Packages for Agro-climatological data was used in analyzing the 54 years meteorological data of Nduli meteorological station in Iringa District. The findings revealed that smallholder farmers perceived climate change in terms of change in temperature, changes in rainfall, increase in drought condition and increase in malaria and crop pests and diseases. Change in rainfall pattern, temperature pattern and occurrence of pests and diseases had significant impact on smallholder farmers’ households whose livelihood depends on rain fed farming. Therefore smallholder farmers need to adapt to the changing climate. It is recommended that there is need for development of appropriate adaptation strategies to climate change of which smallholder farmers in semi-arid areas of Iringa District perceived. This can be achieved by helping smallholder farmers use their local knowledge in combination with introduced innovations to enhance adaptation to the impact of climate change


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Perception, Climate change, Temperature and rainfall, Semi arid, Iringa, Smallholder farmers, Tanzania