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Insights into indigenous coping strategies to drought for adaptation in Agriculture: A Karoo scenario
Expanded Title:Results generated from this project are aligned with the Intergovermental Committee on Climate Change (IPCC) approaches especially the impacts, coping and adaptation strategies. Several drought indicators were highlighted by farmers in the Karoo region, for example, farmers understood well how the behaviour of certain animals and plants meant that drought was approaching. Some of the drought indicators mentioned by farmers in the Karoo region include wind direction, changes in temperature were some of the signs used by farmers. It was noted that some of the indicators were consistent with indigenous knowledge signs collected from other African countries including Ethiopia, Malawi, Zimbabwe etc. During this study several typologies for assessing indigenous knowledge in the Karoo were found to be the one using farming systems of crop, mixed crop-livestock and livestock systems. (a) Crop system consisted of horticultural farms. Farmers had developed methods of conserving moisture such as using bottles to moisture the soil slowly, mulching and shade netting. It was also highlighted that farmers in the Karoo used manure and household (kitchen) garbage to improve soil fertility. (b) Mixed crop-livestock systems had developed many coping mechanisms and farmers had also developed adaptation strategies that ensured the systems kept operating even during severe drought. It was during this study that other farmers had adapted by changing their systems from cropping to more drought resistant livestock systems. (c) Livestock farmers were the most resilient to drought. It was found that some of the strategies adopted by farmers dated back centuries. Migration with animals to better grazing lands was one of the oldest coping mechanisms used by livestock farmers. Farmers also purchased lucerne from other farmers or far off areas to feed their animals. Other strategies used by livestock farmers in the Karoo areas include early marketing of livestock, destocking and leaving the breeding herd intact and also manipulating feeding strategies to conserve the herd. The long term strategies that have been noted include breeding for survival during drought, changing breeds, and changing systems to low input ostrich or game farming. Livestock farmers further highlighted that they have developed methods of conserving water through rainwater harvesting from mountain slopes, construction of stock dams for water storage and use of windmill pumped boreholes. The identified coping and adaptation strategies adopted by farmers in the Karoo indicate systems that have evolved over a long period of time. The key message from this study was that some traditional methods have now been replaced with modern, more efficient methods, for example, flood irrigation has been replaced with water conserving drip irrigation.
Date Published:01/04/2015
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Drinking water - Water loss, R & D - Water history
Document Keywords:Climate, Guidelines
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Standard
WRC Report No:2084/1/15
Authors:Ncube B; Lagardien A
Project No:K5/2084
Originator:WRC
Organizations:Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Document Size:1 518 KB
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