Hill Publishing Group | contact@hillpublisher.com

Hill Publishing Group

Location:Home / Journals / International Journal of Food Science and Agriculture /


Smallholder Farmers’ Adaptation Strategies, Opportunities and Challenges to Climate Change: A Review

Date: October 20,2021 |Hits: 991 Download PDF How to cite this paper

Sisay Workalemahu1,*, Ibsa Dawid2

1Department of Climate Smart Agriculture, Haramaya University, Haramaya, Oromia, Ethiopia.

2Socio-Economics Research Team, Asella Agricultural Engineering Research Center, Oromia Agricultural Research Institute, P. O. Box 06, Asella, Ethiopia.

*Corresponding author: Sisay Workalemahu


Agricultural production is the primary source of income for most smallholder farmers. Climate change and variability are currently emerging as a major challenge to agricultural production by smallholder farmers who rely on rain-fed agriculture on small farms. The overall goal of this seminar paper was to examine smallholder farmers’ adaptation strategies for increasing crop and livestock production in the face of changing climatic circumstances. Review existing crop and livestock production adaptation strategies, adaptation opportunities, adaptation obstacles, and factors that influence crop and livestock production adaptation strategies under changing climatic circumstances were the specific objectives. Smallholder farmers have used a variety of crop and livestock production adaptation strategies to reduce the impact of climate change and variability-related hazards. Awareness raising and capacity developments are the major important adaptation opportunities for reducing the effect of climate change. Human population growth (large family size), inappropriate land use and forest policies, strategies, and programs, low institutional capacity of local bodies, marginalization of local communities, deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion, and decline in soil fertility are all factors that make it difficult for smallholder farmers to adapt to the effects of climate variability and change. Smallholder farmers’ choice of Adaptation Strategies is influenced by agro-ecology, access to climate/weather information, gender, education level, and age of the household head, farm income, non-farm income, credit usage, extension service, and distance from the market center.


[1] Guodaar, L., Asante, F., Eshun, G., Abass, K., Afriyie, K., Appiah, D. O., … Kpenekuu, F. (2019). How do climate change adaptation strategies result in unintended maladaptive outcomes? Perspectives of tomato farmers. International Journal of Vegetable Science, 1-17. doi: 10.1080/19315260.2019.1573393.

[2] Getachew Teferi, Degefa Tolossa, and Negussie Semie. (2018). Perception and Adaptation Strategies of Rural People against the Adverse Effects of Climate Variability: A Case Study of Boset District, EastShewa, Ethiopia. Environmental Development. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envdev.2018.07.005.

[3] Wondimagegn Tesfaye and Lemma Seifu. (2016). “Climate change perception and choice of adaptation strategies: Empirical evidence from smallholder farmers in east Ethiopia”. International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management. Vol. 8, Issue 2: 253-270. doi: 10.1108/ IJCCSM-01-2014-0017.

[4] Gebrehiwot, T. and van der Veen, A. (2013). Farm Level Adaptation to Climate Change: The Case of Farmer’s in the Ethiopian Highlands. Environmental Management, 52(1): 29-44.

[5] Echnoserve. (2014). Guideline for Conducting Vulnerability Assessment. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Ministry of Agriculture, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

[6] LincolnLenderking, H., Robinson, S. A., and Carlson, G. (2021). Climate change and food security in Caribbean small island developing states: challenges and strategies. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 28(3): 238-245.

[7] Islam, M., S. Sallu, K. Hubacek, and J. Paavola. (2014). Limits and barriers to adaptation.

[8] Dow, K., F. Berkhout, and B. L. Preston. (2013). Limits to adaptation: a risk approach.

[9] Reyes-Paecke, S., Gironás, J., Melo, O., Vicuña, S., and Herrera, J. (2019). Irrigation of green spaces and residential gardens in a Mediterranean metropolis: Gaps and opportunities for climate change adaptation. Landscape and Urban Planning, 182: 34-43. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2018.10.006.

[10] Fagariba, C. J., Shaoxian Song, and Serge Kevin Gildas Soule Baoro. (2018). Climate Change Adaptation Strategies and Constraints in Northern Ghana: Evidence of Farmers in Sissala West District. Sustainability, 10, 1484. doi: 10.3390/su10051484.

[11] Fadina, R. and Barjolle, D. (2018). Farmers’ Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change and Their Implications in the Zou Department of South Benin. Environments, Vol. 5, No. 15; doi: 10.3390/environments5010015.

[12] Seid Sani, Jema Haji, and Degye Goshu. (2016). Climate Change Adaptation Strategies of Smallholder Farmers: The Case of Assosa District, Western Ethiopia. Journal of Environment and Earth Science, Vol. 6, No. 7: 9-15.

[13] Piya, L., Maharjan, K. L., and Joshi, N. P. (2019). Adaptation Strategies and Factors Influencing the Adaptation Choices. Socio-Economic Issues of Climate Change, 161-190. doi: 10.1007/978-981-13-5784-8_12.

[14] Kassem, H., Suleiman, A., Alotaibi, B., Aldosri, F., and Straquadine, G. (2019). Climate Change Adaptation in the Delta Nile Region of Egypt: Implications for Agricultural Extension. Sustainability, 11, 685. doi:10.3390/su11030685.

[15] Lalego, B., Ayalew, T., and Kaske, D. (2019). Impact of climate variability and change on crop production and farmers’ adaptation strategies in Lokka Abaya District, Southern Ethiopia. African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 13(3). http://www.academicjournals.org/AJEST.

[16] Maharjan, S. K. (2019). Household-Level Factors Affecting the Climate Change Adaptation in Agriculture in Central and Western Nepal. Ecology, Pollution and Environmental science, 2(1): 199-203.

[17] Teklewold, H., Mekonnen, A., and Kohlin, G. (2018). Climate change adaptation: a study of multiple climate-smart practices in the Nile Basin of Ethiopia. Climate and Development. DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2018.1442801.

[18] Kassam, A., Friedrich, T., and Derpsch, R. (2018). Global spread of Conservation Agriculture. International Journal of Environmental Studies. DOI: 10.1080/00207233.2018.1494927.

[19] Bedeke, S., Vanhove, W., Gezahegn, M., Natarajan, K., and Van Damme, P. (2018). Adoption of climate change adaptation strategies by maize-dependent smallholders in Ethiopia. NJAS—Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences. doi: 10.1016/j.njas.2018.09.001.

[20] John K. M. Kuwornu1, Ramatu M. Al-Hassan, Prince Maxwell Etwire, and Yaw Osei-Owusu. (2013). Adaptation Strategies of Smallholder Farmers to Climate Change and Variability: Evidence from Northern Ghana. Information Management and Business Review. Vol. 5, No. 5 : 233-239: (ISSN 2220-3796).

[21] Vicente, M. L. and Gao-Lin, Wu.  (2019).  Soil and Water Conservation in Agricultural and Forestry Systems.  Water, 11: 1937.  doi: 10.3390/w11091937. 

[22] Jiang, C., Zhang, H., Wang, X., Feng, Y., and Labzovskii, L. (2019).  Challenging the land degradation in China’s Loess Plateau: Benefits, limitations, sustainability, and adaptive strategies of soil and water conservation.  Ecological Engineering, 127: 135-150.  doi: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2018.11.018. 

[23] Frehiwot Assefa.  (2016).  Determenants of Farmers’ Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change and Variability: The Case of Mareka District of Dawuro Zone, South Ethiopia.  American Journal of Human Ecology, Vol. 5, No. 1: 20-35.  DOI: 10.11634/216796221605784. 

[24] FAO.  (2017).  FAO Strategy on Climate Change.  Rome. 

[25] Sisay Diriba, Mulugeta Damie, and Molla Alemayheu.  (2019).  Climate change adaptation strategies in response to food insecurity: The paradox of improved potato varieties adoption in eastern Ethiopia.  Cogent Food & Agriculture.  DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23311932.2019.1640835. 

[26] Wrigley-Asante, C., Owusu, K., Egyir, I. S., and Owiyo, T. M. (2017).  Gender dimensions of climate change adaptation practices: the experiences of smallholder crop farmers in the transition zone of Ghana.  African Geographical Review: 1-14.  doi:10.1080/19376812.2017.1340168. 

[27] Akinnagbe and Irohibe.  (2014).  Agricultural adaptation strategies to climate change impacts in Africa: a review.  Bangladesh J. Agril.  Res., 39(September): 407-418. 

[28] Gautam, Y. and Andersen, P. (2016).  Rural livelihood diversification and household well-being: insights from Humla, Nepal. Journal of Rural Studies, 44: 239-249. 

[29] Bezu, S. and Holden, S. (2014).  Are rural youth in Ethiopia abandoning agriculture?  World Development, 64: 259-272. 

[30] Midgley, G. F. and Africa, S. (2014).  Constraints, and Limits Coordinating Lead Authors: Review Editors.  Pp. 899-943. 

[31] Lieske, D. J., T. Wade, and L. A. Roness.  (2013).  Climate change awareness and strategies for communicating the risk of coastal flooding: a Canadian Maritime case example.  Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science.  www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272771413002035. 

[32] Newton, P. W. (2013).  Regenerating cities: technological and design innovation for Australian suburbs. 

[33] Tilahun, M., Angassa, A., and Abebe, A. (2017).  Community-based knowledge towards rangeland condition, climate change, and adaptation strategies: the case of Afar pastoralists.  Ecological Processes, 6: 29.  DOI: 10.1186/s13717-017-0094-4. 

[34] Belay, A., Recha, J. W., Woldeamanuel, T., and Morton. (2017).  Smallholder farmers’ adaptation to climate change and determinants of their adaptation decisions in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia.  Agriculture & Food Security.  DOI 10.1186/s40066-017-0100-1. 

[35] Esayas, B., Simane, B., Teferi, E., Ongoma, V., and Tefera, N. (2019).  Climate Variability and Farmers’ Perception in Southern Ethiopia.  Advances in Meteorology, 1-19.  doi: 10.1155/2019/7341465. 

[36] Jairo, M. N. and Korir, E. (2019).  Climate Knowledge, Adaptation and Intensity of Adaptation Strategies among Farmers in the Slopes of Mount Kenya.  Climatol Weather Forecasting.  Vol. 7, Iss. 1, No: 246. 

[37] Korir, J. C. and Ngenoh, E. (2019).  Factors Influencing the Adaptation Decisions to Impacts of Climate Change among the Maasai Pastoral Community in Narok County, Kenya.  Agricultural Sciences: 10: 689-705.  https://doi.org/10.4236/as.2019.105054. 

[38] Abid, M., Scheffran, J., Schneider, U., and Elahi, E. (2018).  Farmer Perceptions of Climate Change, Observed Trends and Adaptation of Agriculture in Pakistan.  Environmental Management.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-018-1113-7. 

[39] Kinuthia, K. J., Shadrack K. Inoti, and Lenah Nakhone.  (2018).  Factors Influencing Farmer’s Choice of Crop Production Response Strategies to Climate Change and Variability in Narok East Sub-county, Kenya.  Journal of Natural Resources and Development, 2018, 08: 69-77.  DOI number: 10.5027/jnrd.v8i0.07. 

[40] Soglo, Y. Y. and Nonvide, G. M. A. (2019).  Climate change perceptions and responsive strategies in Benin: the case of maize farmers.  Climatic Change, 155: 245-256.  doi: 10.1007/s10584-019-02452-3.

[41] Alemayehu, D. (2019). Adaptation strategies by smallholder farmers to increase crop production under the changing climatic conditions the case of Gozamin district, East Gojam.

[42] Ubisi, N. R., Paramu L. Mafongoya, Unathi Kolanisi, and Obert Jiri. (2017). Smallholder farmer’s perceived effects of climate change on crop production and household livelihoods in rural Limpopo province, South Africa. Change Adaptation Socioecol. Syst., 3: 27-38. DOI: 10.1515/cass-2017-0003.

[43] Yaméogo, T. B., William M. Fonta, and Tobias Wünscher. (2018). Can Social Capital influence Smallholder Farmers’ Climate-Change Adaptation Decisions? Evidence from Three Semi-Arid Communities in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Social Sciences, 7: 33. doi: 10.3390/socsci7030033.

[44] Dang, H. L., Li, E., Nuberg, I., and Bruwer, J. (2019). Factors influencing the adaptation of farmers in response to climate change: a review. Climate and Development, 1-10. doi:10.1080/17565529.2018.1562866.

[45] Dembele, B., Bett, H. K., Maina Kariuki, I., Le Bars, M., and Ouko, K. O. (2018). Factors influencing crop diversification strategies among smallholder farmers in cotton production zone in Mali. Advances in Agricultural Science, 6(3): 01-16.

[46] Al-Amin, Akhter, T., Islam, A., Jahan, H., Hossain, M. J., Prodhan, M. M. H., Kirby, M. (2019). An intra-household analysis of farmers’ perceptions of and adaptation to climate change impacts: empirical evidence from drought prone zones of Bangladesh. Climatic Change. doi:10.1007/s10584-019-02511-9.

[47] Ashraf, M. Q., Khan, S. A., Muhammad R. K., and Iqbal, W. (2018). Determinants of Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change by Farmers in District Sargodha, Pakistan. Journal. Int. J. Econ. Environ. Geol., 9(1): 16-20. 

[48] Tarfa, P. Y., Ayuba, H. K., Onyeneke, R. U., Idris, N., Nwajiuba, C. A., and Igberi, C. O. (2019). Climate change perception and adaptation in Nigeria’s guinea savanna: empirical evidence from farmers in Nasarawa State, Nigeria. Applied Ecology and Environmental Research, 17(3): 7085-7112.

[49] Weldlul Ayalew. (2016). Analysis of Smallholder Farmers’ Perceptions of Climate Change and Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change: The Case of Western Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Management. Univeristy of South Africa.

[50] Tessema, Y. A., Joerin, J., and Patt, A. (2018). Factors affecting smallholder farmers’ adaptation to climate change through non-technological adjustments. Environmental Development, 25: 33-42. doi:10.1016/j.envdev.2017.11.001.

[51] Hailu Elias. (2016). Welfare Implications of Credit Constraints and Climate Change Adaptation Strategies on Ethiopian Farm Households. Phd Dissertation. Addis Ababa University. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

[52] Nkuba, M., Chanda, R., Mmopelwa, G., Kato, E., Mangheni, M., and Lesolle, D. (2019). “The effect of climate information in pastoralists’ adaptation to climate change: A case study of Rwenzori region, Western Uganda”. International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCCSM-10-2018-0073.

How to cite this paper

Smallholder Farmers’ Adaptation Strategies, Opportunities and Challenges to Climate Change: A Review

How to cite this paper: Sisay Workalemahu, Ibsa Dawid. (2021) Smallholder Farmers’ Adaptation Strategies, Opportunities and Challenges to Climate Change: A Review. International Journal of Food Science and Agriculture5(4), 592-600.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26855/ijfsa.2021.12.005

Volumes & Issues

Free HPG Newsletters

Add your e-mail address to receive free newsletters from Hill Publishing Group.

Contact us

Hill Publishing Group

8825 53rd Ave

Elmhurst, NY 11373, USA

E-mail: contact@hillpublisher.com

Copyright © 2019 Hill Publishing Group Inc. All Rights Reserved.