Can climate information salvage livelihoods in arid and semiarid lands? An evaluation of access, use and impact in Namibia 20-09

EfD Discussion Paper
1 April 2020

Zachary Gitonga, Martine Visser

Climate forecasting is a crucial tool for managing risks in climate- sensitive economic sectors like agriculture. Although rainfed farming dominates livelihoods in Africa, information on access, use and impact of improved seasonal climate forecasting remains scanty. This paper addresses this gap using representative data from Northern Namibia. The study employed propensity score matching, with a sensitivity analysis for hidden bias, to evaluate the impact of
climate information on adaptive capacity and food security. Although half of the households received climate information, many rated it as insufficient for decision-making and relied on traditional knowledge. Farmers were found to attach high importance to climate information in relation to decisions about sale of livestock, stocking livestock feed, restocking, storing food for consumption smoothing and in making crop choices. Households receiving climate information had more diversified diets, higher food expenditure and engaged in more adaptive strategies. Effective response to climate information for risk mitigation will require enhanced community awareness of available adaptive choices, development of market value chains, institutional support like extension services, and improvement of rural
road and communication infrastructure. Working with local leaders and integrating climate information into local knowledge systems can enhance access and utilization in farm decisions.

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Sustainable Development Goals
Publication | 29 June 2020