production by small-holder farmers in Africa is particularly vulnerable to
climate change, given high dependence on rainfall coupled with limited adaptive
capacity. In Zambia, smallholder farmers contribute about 79% of national
stable food requirements particularly maize. This paper attempted to establish
levels of food security in each of the three agro-ecological zones of Zambia,
and evaluated the current adaptive measures of rain dependent small-holder
farmers against climate change risks. The challenges farmers are facing in
adapting to the change risks were identified and livelihood vulnerability
assessed. The findings indicate that rain dependent small-holder farmers in
Zambia are highly vulnerable to weather related shocks which impact greatly on
their food production; and that the levels of vulnerability vary across gender
and per agro-ecological zone. After the evaluation of scenarios including
staple food crop yields (maize), the authors conclude that most rain-fed
small-holder farmers in Zambia (about 70%) are facing considerable hardships in
adapting to the changing climate, which in turn, undermines their contribution
to food security. While efforts by government have been made to assist farmers
towards climate change adaptation, there still remains many challenges to
achieve the desired outcomes. Most farmers (66%) are unable to afford certain
alternatives, such as those of agro-forestry or conservation. Difficulties in
accessing markets, poor road infrastructure, fluctuating market prices, high
costs and late deliveries of farming in-puts were found to be among the major
challenges that farmers are facing in Zambia. There are also no systematic
early warning systems in place against natural hazards and disasters. This
makes farming a difficult undertaking in Zambia.
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