The Gambia’s over-dependence on rain-fed agriculture for livelihoods is one of the major causes of vulnerability of communities’ mostly rural areas to the effects of 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 effects. 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 the Logistic regression model to analyze the various factors that are hypothesized to affect household food security status while Mann Kendal test was used to analyze the trend in climate factors such as rainfall and temperatures 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. The study further revealed that factors that affect household food security are complex and multidimensional. As to coping strategies, the majority of the household resort to a combination of strategies to cope with food shortages. 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.
KEYWORDS: Climate Variability, Rural Household, Food Security, Vulnerability, Coping