Agroecological location of farms and choice of drought coping strategies of smallholder farmers in Swaziland

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Khumalo, Temndeni Amnestantia
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African Economic Research Consortium
This study uses data from Swaziland to test whether variations in local agro-ecological regions levels of drought susceptibility and other socioeconomic factors significantly determine farmer selected drought coping and adaptation strategies. This was in response to the policy need to understand how livelihoods of poor, rural, smallholder farming communities can be made more resilient in the face of recurrent droughts. Swaziland’s agro ecological regions were divided into those that were highly susceptible (Lubombo and Lowveld) and those that were relatively less susceptible (Highveld and Middleveld) to drought. Using structured questionnaires and face-to-face interviews, the study compared 115 randomly selected farmers from the former and 50 farmers from the latter region based on the following household level indicators: behavioural responses to perceived long-term changes in temperature and precipitation; the impact and behavioural responses to the most recent drought event; how farmers would have responded if they had ex ante information on the most recent drought event; ex ante private investment in anticipation of future drought events; and finally farmer preferences for ex ante public investments in anticipation of future drought events.
Drought coping and adaptation, factors influencing selection, probit analysis, small-scale farmers, Swaziland, agro-ecological zones.