Adoption of Conservation Farming Technologies as a Climate change Adaptation Strategy among Smallholder Farmers in Zambia: A case study of Chikankata District in the Southern Province of Zambia
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This study was conducted to investigate what determines the adoption of conservation farming technologies as an adaptation strategy to climate change among small holder farmers in Chikankata district of Zambia. It specifically looked at the level of awareness of climate change and conservation farming technologies by small holder farmers, the prevalence of, and type of adoption of conservation farming technologies, the nature of household characteristics and how they influence the adoption of conservation farming technologies, factors which influence the adoption of Conservation farming technologies and the nature of farming challenges continually faced by adopters and non-adopters of conservation farming technologies in the district.
The study used both qualitative and quantitative design. Primary data was collected using semi-structured questionnaires administered to smallholder farmers. An interview guide was used on agriculture/ camp officers and conservation farming field officers who are the key informants. A focus group discussion was also conducted with the lead farmers or farmer coordinators. A total of 116 small holder farmers from the total population of 2301 were selected to participate in the study using simple random sampling method (table 2). The data collected was coded using a coding scheme. It was later processed and analysed using the Statistical Package of the Social Sciences (SPSS). Secondary data was collected from published and unpublished(online) reports.
The study revealed that most of the smallholder farmers have heard and are aware of climate change and conservation farming respectively. The results indicate that sixty two per cent (62%) of the respondents are aware of climate change and eighty five per cent (85%) of the respondents are aware of conservation farming technologies. However, the level of adoption is still low despite the awareness and knowledge. Only thirty two per cent (32%) of the respondents have adopted Conservation farming technologies or Conservation Agriculture (CA) as it is sometimes called. The empirical evidence in this investigation does not support the assumption that most smallholder farmers in Chikankata district of Zambia have adopted conservation farming technologies but supports the notion that the adoption of conservation farming technologies by smallholder farmers is influenced by socio-economic and institutional factors. It can therefore be deduced from the findings that just sensitising the farmers and training them on conservation farming technologies is not adequate but the trainings should go hand in hand with the alleviation of the many challenges that are faced by the smallholder farmers.
The study therefore recommended that the government and other stakeholders, including NGOs should consider enhancing the adoption of conservation farming technologies by investing in appropriate agro equipment such as tractors, rippers and fiterelli planters (zero till Machinery) and also in farmer extension support considering that farmers need support in order for them to understand the concepts that come along with conservation farming technologies.
Additionally, the government should increase the smallholder farmers’ access to farming inputs through FISP and should also consider increasing the FISP pack. The government should revisit the FISP so that the most vulnerable people benefit from the programme and not only those with capital or who are already rich. There is also need to intensify sensitisations on conservation farming, trainings and field days. Furthermore there is need for field officers to monitor agricultural activities so that they can give timely advice to farmers.
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