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Preparing for, coping with and bouncing back after shocks. A nuanced resilience assessment for smallholder farms and farmers in Northern Ghana
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Smallholder farmers in Northern Ghana regularly face shocks, challenging the sustainability of their farms and livelihoods. Different farm households and household members may be differently affected and respond with different coping strategies. We combined whole-farm modelling and farmer consultations to investigate the vulnerability, buffer and adaptive capacity of three farm types in Northern Ghana towards severe climate, economic and social shocks. We further assessed intrahousehold differences in respective risk mitigation and coping strategies. Our model results indicate that the drought shock would most severely affect all farm types, drastically reducing their operating profits and soil organic matter balance. The medium resource endowed farm was most affected by shocks, but all farm types could enhance their capacity to recover by adopting technology packages for sustainable intensification. Gendered coping strategies included livestock sales, post-harvest storage, activating social networks, rice processing and the collection, processing and sales of wild nuts and fruits. Farmers reported to aim at becoming more resilient by increasing their herd size and expanding their farmland, thereby risking to increase rather than reduce the pressure on natural resources. New questions arise concerning the carrying capacity of local ecosystems and resilience at community and landscape level.
We would like to thank the Africa RISING team in Tamale, notably Nurudeen Abdul Rahman, Dukurugu Fuseini and our enumerator and translator for Duko, Iddrisu Baba Mohammed. For the Focus Group Discussions in the Upper East, we were grateful to have had the support of Roger Awpone and in the Upper West of Rufus Tampuori. I would also like to thank Dorien Jansen for her company during the field work and her complementary work on nutrition.
Multi standard citation
Permanent link to this itemhttps://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12478/8243
IITA Authors ORCID
Bekele Hundie Kotuhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5788-6461
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)