Household vulnerability and adaptive capacity to impacts of climate change and variability in Soroti distict, Eastern Uganda
This study sought to examine the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of the people in Soroti District with the aim of improving the understanding of climate change and of measures to enhance adaptation and reduce vulnerability of the people in the district. The overall objective of this study was to assess the vulnerabilities, impacts and adaptation strategies of households in Soroti District. Household survey, key informant interviews and focused group discussions were used to obtain data on climate change and variability impacts, vulnerability and adaptation strategies. Temperature and rainfall data from Soroti meteorological station was also used to determine climate variability and change. All the quantitative data were entered in the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) 16 and Microsoft-Excel 2007 program and results were then represented in the form of tables, graphs, and charts. The temperature and Rainfall analysis shows that climate in the area has been changing in the recent past. People’s perception confirmed these scenarios along with increased floods, drought and incidences of pests and diseases. This could have serious implications on agriculture which is the major source of livelihood within the district. For instance the delay of the 2013 March – April – May (MAM) rainfall onset and extended dry spell in between the season led to serious crop failure and subsequent poor harvest. Other major impacts of climate change and variability on livelihoods include, lack of animal feeds, low fish catches, decreased water availability and decline in soil fertility. Although, the entire district is vulnerable to the impact of climate change and variability, vulnerability is heightened on the poor, women, children and the less educated. The residents have however adopted certain coping and adaptation strategies to deal with the climate change impacts. The current coping strategies includes sale of household assets, wage labour, petty trading and reduction of consumption levels. Adaptation strategies include planting different crops, diversifying crops, shifting planting dates, off farm jobs and diversifying from farm to non – farm activities. However, these strategies are not sufficient due to overarching stressors such as overdependence on rainfed agriculture, poverty, lack of information and lack of technology among others. To improve resilience and enhance adaptation to climate change and variability, there is an urgent need to alleviate poverty and unemployment within the district by enhancing the micro-financing efficiency and creating employment opportunities for the locals. There is also a need for the involvement of the relevant institutions on early warning and robust contingency planning. Local knowledge integration in climate policies can also improve adaptation and enhance resilience.