Dealing with Climate Change in Semi-Arid Ghana: Understanding Intersectional Perceptions and Adaptation Strategies of Women Farmers

Citation:

Lawson, Elaine T., Rahinatu Sidiki Alare, Abdul Rauf Zanya Salifu, and Mary Thompson-Hall. 2020. "Dealing with Climate Change in Semi-Arid Ghana: Understanding Intersectional Perceptions and Adaptation Strategies of Women Farmers." GeoJournal 85: 439-52.

Authors: Elaine T. Lawson, Rahinatu Sidiki Alare, Abdul Rauf Zanya Salifu, Mary Thompson-Hall

Abstract:

Climate change has diverse physical and socio-economic implications for communities in semi-arid areas. While several studies have sought to understand the underlying power relations that shape adaptive capacities of rural farmers, fewer studies have focused on unpacking the differences within the different social groups. In this paper, we present a case study based on women smallholder farmers from semi-arid Ghana. It explores their nuanced perceptions of climate variability and highlights how gender intersects with other identities, roles and responsibilities to influence adaptation strategies and barriers to adaptation in the semi-arid context. Farm-level data was collected from 103 women farmers using semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Rainfall patterns were perceived by the women farmers to be increasingly erratic and perceptions of average temperatures were that they are increasing. Adoption of adaptation strategies were influenced by socio-demographic factors such as age, marital and residential status, which also influenced decision-making and power dynamics within the household. The paper highlighted the complex relationships that mediate women farmers’ access to resources and influence their vulnerability to climate variability and change. Highlighting the intra-gender differences that shaped the adaptation options and adaptive capacity is a prerequisite for proper adaptation policy planning and targeting.

Keywords: adaptation, adaptive capacity, climate variability and change, farmers, Ghana, perceptions

Topics: Age, Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Households, Intersectionality, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2020

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