Assessment of Smallholder Farmers’ Perceptions of Climate Change Scenarios for 50 years in Salima District, Malawi
Keywords:Climate Change; Smallholder Farmers; Perceptions.
AbstractSmallholder farmers are significantly considered being amongst the poorest that are most affected by climate change. Climate change is rated the greatest threat to smallholders’ food production in the 21stcentury. Despite scientists agreeing that the world is getting warmer, it was important for this study to assess whether climate change is a reality that is known and experienced by smallholder farmers in Malawi. This paper assesses smallholder farmers’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Perceptions (KAP) towards climate change in comparison with available meteorological data for 50 years. Descriptive research design with a mixed approach of both qualitative and quantitative research methods was adopted. A sample of 183 respondents was randomly and purposefully selected to include both household heads and key informants. Data collection method included Survey Questionnaire, Key Informants Interviews, Focused Group Discussions as well as literature review. Meteorological data for 50 years was analyzed to underpin farmers’ perceptions on climate change. The result shows that survey respondents’ knowledge of climate change is derived from their experiences, thoughts and ideas about how to cope with changing drought and rainfall seasons. Those results are in tandem with the conventional view based on scientific evidence that suggests changing climate in Malawi with profound impact on seasons.