Farmers’ Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change and Their Implications in the Zou Department of South Benin

Fadina, A. M. R. and Barjolle, D. | Environments | 2018 | Peer Reviewed | Original research |


Climate change is a global phenomenon. Its impact on agricultural activities in developing countries has increased dramatically. Understanding how farmers perceive climate change and how they adapt to it is very important to the implementation of adequate policies for agricultural and food security. This paper aims to contribute to an understanding of farmers’ adaptation choices, determinants of the adaptation choices and the long-term implications of the adaptation choices. Data were collected from 120 respondents in the Zou Department of Benin. A binary logit model was used to analyze the factors influencing household decisions to adapt to climate change. Multinomial logistic regression analysis was estimated to analyze the factors influencing households’ choice of adaptation strategies to climate change. The results show that farmers have a developed perception of climate change. These changes are translated by rainfall disturbances (rainfall delays, early cessation, bad rainfall distribution etc.), shortening of the small dry season, increasing of temperature and sometimes, violent winds. The survey reveals that Benin farmers adopt many strategies in response to climate change. These strategies include “Crop–livestock diversification and other good practices (mulching, organic fertilizer),” “Use of improved varieties, chemical fertilizers and pesticides,” “Agroforestry and perennial plantation” and “Diversification of income-generating activities.” The findings also reveal that most of the respondents use these strategies in combination. From the binary logit model, we know that “farming experience” and “educational level of household head” positively influence adaptation decisions. The result of the multinomial logit analysis shows that farming experience, educational level, farm size and gender have a significant impact on climate change adaptation strategies. Based on in-depth analysis of each strategy, we identify crop diversification and agroforestry as being the most promising strategies with benefits for farmers, the environment and future generations.