Gender, agriculture and climate change impact and vulnerability of resource poor farmers in Africa
Keywords:Gender, Agriculture, Natural biodiversity, Climate change, Africa
Gender is a socio-economic variable which can be used to analyze vulnerability and adaptive capacity of people against climate change and variability in local communities in Africa. Due to climatic change and variability, achieving sustainability inagriculture with emphasis on satisfying basic human needs and improving people’s standard of living through enhancing food security and reducing poverty has been a challenge in Africa. This has been exacerbated by the fact that rapid increase in human population has outpaced the ability to produce sufficient food for the growing population. This discussion attempt to link gender vulnerability to climate change impact on resource poor peasant farmers in Africa. Climate change and variability is now widely regarded as the most serious challenge facing Africa, with consequences that go far beyond the effects on the environment, hence affecting both men and women indiscriminately. Despite the negative impact of climate change on crop, livestock production and biodiversity conservation, poor resources peasant famers are incentivized to engage in these activities because of the wide spectrum of benefits accrued, such as cash income, food, manure, draft power and hauling services, savings and insurance, and social status and social capital. It is against this background that crops and livestock species that remarkably possess distinctive qualities enabling them to excel efficiently in the context of the uncertainties of climatic variability need to be promoted to reduce vulnerability at household level. The use of adaptive genotypes such as the local animal and crop genetic resources may sustain household production in the context of climate change. Small grain crops (sorghum, millet, cow peas. pigeon peas etc) and small stock (goats, sheep, poultry, etc) which are associated with women are less likely to succumb to climate change than the large ruminants which are owned by men. It is reasonably to suggest that the exclusion – or lack of participation – of women in decision making over biodiversity conservation and natural resource management can have implications for conservation outcomes because of gender role differences in natural resources utilization and conservation based on indigenous knowledge. The review concludes that the impact of climate change will have a graver effect on womenthan men, due to their different specific socio economic roles and their participation in different agricultural activities and biodiversity conservation effort. The range of adaptive measures that might be taken for local communities to ameliorate climate change effects should take into account gender differentials, if they are to succeed.
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