Economic changes in Southern Africa: Are they facilitating or constraining the use of seasonal climate forecasts?

Southern Africa is vulnerable to both drought and flooding as the result of climate variability. In fact, both inter- and intra-annual variability of rainfall are considered key climatic elements that determine the success of agriculture. Seasonal climate forecasts can potentially reduce the vulnerability of farmers to climate variability. However, the ability of farmers to make use of seasonal forecasts is dependent on a number of factors, such as access to credit, draft power, and alternative seeds, the existence of marketing facilities, and so on. These factors are not static, particularly as Southern Africa undergoes dramatic economic changes as the result of globalization of economic activity and continuing implementation of national-level structural adjustment programs. Potential agricultural impacts of a shift toward greater export-orientation in southern Africa include shifts in cultivation patterns toward cash-crop exports, improved access to advanced technologies including drought resistant seeds, and better access to credit for some farmers. Yet the effects of these changes are unevenly distributed, and many farmers are becoming increasingly marginalized as the result of economic changes. Consequently, response options to seasonal forecasts are either facilitated or constrained by economic globalization. In this paper we discuss how economic changes can influence the potential use of seasonal forecasts, and present the some results from empirical research on seasonal forecast use and responses to climate variability among farmers in southern Africa. We argue that vulnerability of these farmers is becoming increasingly dynamic as the uneven effects of economic globalization penetrate the region.

Reference

O'Brien, Karen, R. Leichenko and Siri E H Eriksen, 2001. Economic changes in Southern Africa: Are they facilitating or constraining the use of seasonal climate forecasts?. 2001 Open Meeting of the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Research Community, 6-8 October 2001, Hotel Gloria, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

More details

  • Language: Engelsk
  • Category: Populærvitenskapelige foredrag
  • Presentation title: Economic changes in Southern Africa: Are they facilitating or constraining the use of seasonal climate forecasts?
  • Conference title/date: 2001 Open Meeting of the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Research Community, 6-8 October 2001
  • Venue: Hotel Gloria, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Keywords

Geographic region

Last updated: 02.01.06

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