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Communication incl. Poster: BibTeX citation key:  Mertza
Mertz, O., Mbow, C., Nielsen, J. O., Maiga, O. F., Ka, A., Diallo, D., Cissé, P., Coulibaly, D., Barbier, B., Da Dapola, E., Zoungrana, T. P., Bouzou Moussa, I., Maman, W. M., Amadou, B., Mahaman, A., Mahaman, A., Oumarou, A., Dabi, D., Ihemegbulem, V., Diouf, A., Zoromé, M., Ouattara, I., Kabré, M., Reenberg, A., Rasmussen, K. & Sandholt, I. 2009. Linking climate factors and adaptation strategies in the rural Sudano-Sahelian zone of West Africa. Work presented at Third International AMMA Conference, July 20—24, at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Added by: Devic 2009-09-16 09:43:35    Last Edited by: roussot 2009-10-18 18:21:17
Categories: Society-Environment-Climate interactions
Keywords: Adaptation and Mitigation, Agriculture, Land use
Creators: Amadou, Barbier, Bouzou Moussa, Cissé, Coulibaly, Da Dapola, Dabi, Diallo, Diouf, Ihemegbulem, Ka, Kabré, Mahaman, Mahaman, Maiga, Maman, Mbow, Mertz, Nielsen, Ouattara, Oumarou, Rasmussen, Reenberg, Sandholt, Zoromé, Zoungrana
Publisher: African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso)
Collection: Third International AMMA Conference

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Although there is an increasing realization of the interplay between different driving forces for rural development and environmental change in developing countries, understanding the relative impact of climate factors on land use change and local livelihoods is still not straight forward. However, without a better knowledge of these relationships it becomes difficult to devise specific and well targeted adaptation strategies to climate change and variability – at best, adaptation becomes a collection of ‘no regret’ actions, which in any case would have benefited development; in worst case scenarios, adaptation could become counter-productive if based on the wrong assumptions. In this paper we aim to estimate the relative weight of climate factors in the decision making process of rural household in the Sudano-Sahelian zone of West Africa during the past 20 years and compare these with strategies described in National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA). We interviewed 1354 households in 16 sites in Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria distributed across a rainfall gradient divided into three zones: 400-500 mm, 500-700 mm, and 700-900 mm. Group interviews were also carried out with 3-5 groups in each site.
Household income sources have increasingly become diversified. A majority of households states that income from remittances, irrigated vegetable farming, and various businesses has increased while a decrease in rainfed agriculture mentioned by 63% of respondents is perceived to be due to decreased rainfall. Many different reasons are given for a decrease in livestock income. Poor rainfall is by far the main cause mentioned of decreases in millet, sorghum and maize production, though soil fertility decline is equally important in the humid zone. Causes for decreases in livestock holdings were much more diverse with sale for family needs, diseases, theft and inadequate pastures being more important than rainfall. When asked directly about impacts of climate change, the climate impact on rainfed agriculture was reiterated as were the more complex and less important impacts on livestock. Adaptation measures taken in response to decreasing agricultural production were very diverse – soil fertilization and alternative income sources were frequent, but the most often cited was various types of ‘prayer’, indicating that many farmers do not see a technical solution. Adaptation of livestock production was more concrete, including veterinary control, fodder complements and increased transhumance. The group interviews largely corroborated the household survey.
The adaptation projects proposed in the NAPAs are generally not reflected in the adaptation options chosen by people in villages studied as very few households mentioned improved irrigation, new crop species and agro-meteorological information as solutions. This may be due to ignorance or lack of access to such possibilities. The study concludes that while the rain fed agricultural sector is perceived to be under significant stress, the livestock sector seems to be a more promising pathway for developing agriculture in the Sahel.
Last Edited by: roussot