n African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development - Farmer perceptions of climate change impacts on Swaziland's sugar industry

Volume 8, Issue 5-6
  • ISSN : 2042-1338
  • E-ISSN: 2042-1346
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This study investigates the perceptions of sugarcane farmers on climate change impacts and their potential alternative livelihoods in the Lowveld of Swaziland with the objective of informing research and policy initiatives. The study obtained data mainly from a survey involving supervisor respondents who had 10 years or more practical farming experience in the study area. In addition, historical climate data on rainfall and temperature patterns were generated to triangulate responses on perceptions. Farmer respondents and the historical data confirmed the perceptions on increased drought and flood incidences, severe temperature fluctuations, decreased water availability, increased pests and diseases that have been observed from as far back as 1975. As for alternative livelihoods in the event that sugarcane farming significantly fails, the farmers indicated that they would and were already engaged in diversification systems that include: livestock farming, and growing food and other cash crops. The study concludes that farmers' perceptions are indeed aligned to emerging global trends on climate change impacts on the agricultural sector in general and the sugarcane industry in particular. Drawing from historical data on rainfall and temperature, we recommend that the government puts in place necessary adaptation measures to minimize foreseeable negative impacts on farmers, especially those engaged in medium- to small-scale operations.

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