Livelihood diversification strategies and resilience to climate change in semi-arid Ghana

Authors: Kamaldeen Mohammed*, Western University, Canada, Evans Batung, Western University, Canada, Moses Kansanga, The George Washington University, United States, Hanson Nyantakyi-Frimpong, University of Denver, United States, Isaac Luginaah, Western University, Canada
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Africa, Arid Regions
Keywords: Livelihood diversification, farm, nonfarm, climate resilience, Ghana
Session Type: Virtual Guided Poster
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 53
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Increasing climate variability threatens the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the Global South. In the semi-arid savannah of Ghana where over 73% of the population are smallholder farmers, climate-induced food insecurity is a major concern. Livelihood diversification is acknowledged to have the potential to build climate change resilience in smallholder farming systems through risk spreading. However, little is known about the link between livelihood diversification strategies and climate resilience in such vulnerable settings. Drawing data from a cross-sectional survey with 1100 smallholder households in semi-arid northern Ghana, this study contributes to the literature by examining the association between livelihood diversification and climate resilience. Findings from logistic regression analysis revealed that smallholder farming households that practiced only farm diversification (OR = 4.66; p≤0.001) and a combination of both farm and nonfarm diversification (OR = 6.28; p≤0.001) had significantly higher odds of reporting good climate change resilience compared to those who did not employ any diversification strategy. The study further revealed that, factors such as the use of manual tools in land preparations (OR = 4.40; p≤0.001), reliance on local community for climate information (OR = 2.23; p≤0.001), and practicing African Traditional Religion (OR = 1.73; p≤0.01) were significantly related to smallholder household perceived climate change resilience. These findings point to the need for agricultural policies to encourage and promote both farm and nonfarm livelihood as complementary risk-spreading strategies and not competing livelihoods in agrarian communities. Exploring the synergies between farm and nonfarm livelihoods may prove beneficial in agrarian context.

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