The Smallholder Farmers Adaptation to Climate Change

The Struggle of Adaptive Capacity among Ndiwa and Chamazi Farmers in Usambara Highlands, Tanzania


  • Fredy Maro The University of Dodoma
  • Albino Tenge The University of Dodoma
  • Kelvin Haule The University of Dodoma


Climate change is one of the major threats to agricultural production worldwide, including many parts of Tanzania. However, different rural agricultural systems are affected differently and differ in their adaptive capacities. This paper assessed the adaptive capacity to climate change by farmers engaged in ndiwa and chamazi traditional irrigation farming systems in West Usambara Highlands , Tanzania. The study leading to this paper was conducted in four villages: Shashui, Nkukai, Lunguza and Kivingo in Lushoto District; and it adopted a cross-sectional research design involving a sample of 380 households. Data were collected through household survey, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), observations and documentary reviews. Undeniably, farmers are not poor of what and how to adapt with climate change: they have some knowledge on what they can do to reduce and contain the adverse impacts of climate change. The results show that whereas ndiwa farmers have moderate adaptive capacity (41.6%), chamazi farmers have low adaptive capacity (23.6%) to climate change impacts. Despite this difference in capacities, both farmers are affected by low financing (ndiwa (14.36%), and chamazi (8.48%) as grants or credits hardly reach small-scale farmers; low access to technical information (ndiwa (15.08%), and chamazi (5.17%)); relative low access to physical infrastructure (ndiwa (5.02%), and chamazi (3.02%)); relative low level of diversity of livelihood (ndiwa (4.56%), and chamazi (4.49%)); and relative low level of human resources (ndiwa (2.51%), and chamazi (2.35%)). The paper recommends that strategies for enabling farmers to become change agents of climate change should build capacity in areas of physical resources such as equipment and infrastructure for irrigation, access to climate information, access to financing opportunities, livelihood diversification, and storage.

Author Biography

Albino Tenge, The University of Dodoma

Institute of Development Studies, The University of Dodoma, Tanzania, Senior Lecturer