Smallholder farmers in Ethiopia

For his MSc thesis in Watermanagement Ludo did research into the climate adaptive behavior of smallholder farmers in the Gumera subbasin, Ethiopia. These subsistence farmers mainly rely on rainfed agriculture and are therefore highly vulnerable for uncertainties in weather patterns. In order to analyse their behavior he visited Bahir Dar. Here he worked together with a PhD student from the Bahir Dar University who helped to get into contact with agricultural experts in the study area.

Ludo started his stay in Bahir Dar going into the field and setting up Focus Group Discussions with local smallholder farmers. This resulted in knowledge on what decisions farmers make, when and why, and how they perceive climatic variability. With this knowledge a household survey is set up, which has been conducted among 400 smallholder farmers within the study area. Other than expected almost 90% of the farmers does adjust their farming practices to year-to-year climate variability. However, only 20% bases their decision upon weather forecast information instead of own weather observations or experiences from previous years.

The data obtained by the survey was used as input for the socio-hydrological model. The socio-hydrological model will be used to gain a better understanding of their decision-making process, and how the availability of information influences their climate adaptive behavior.

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