Effects of climate variability on household food availability among rural farmers in Central River Region-South of The Gambia

Author : Momodou Badjie, Sidat Yaffa , Mamma Sawaneh , Alagie Bah, .


In The Gambia, over-dependence on rain-fed agriculture for livelihoods increases farmers’ vulnerability to climate change. For
farmers to increase crop production there is the need for them to be aware of climate change and how they can sustainably respond
to its variability. This study examines the effects of climate variability on household food security among rural farmers in Central
River Region-South of The Gambia. Multi-stage sampling techniques were employed to collect data from 219 farmer household heads
through a household survey, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize
the household information on food security status. The study also used Pearson correlation to establish the relationship between
climatic variables and crop production in the study area. The findings indicated that 90% of the farmers obtained food from their own
production. Moreover, an overwhelming majority of 75.5% % of the households responded that they faced food shortage and August
is the most difficult month to obtain food. As to coping strategies, the majority of the household resort to a combination of strategies
to cope with food shortages such as rely on less preferred and cheaper foods, borrow food, or rely on help from a friend or relative,
limit meal sizes among others. Therefore, the study recommends Government in collaboration with other stakeholders to clearly
outline climate change adaption needs and implementation plans especially for smallholder farmers who depend on rain-fed to
improve their climate change knowledge thereby enhancing their adaptive capacity to climate change effects, thus improving
household food security status