This study assessed opportunities and challenges experienced by smallholder farmers in using/adopting climate smart agriculture to adapt to climate change and variability in Kilosa district, Tanzania. The main objective of this study was to establish adoption level of climate smart agriculture practices and its contribution in enhancing crop production and adaptive capacity in improving food security among smallholder farmers. Specific objective included the following: to identify farmersâ€™ knowledge level on climate smart agriculture, to explore adopted types of climate smart agriculture as well as to identify available opportunities and the challenges experienced by smallholder farmers in adopting climate smart agriculture. Data were collected from 100 purposively selected crop farmersâ€™ households between December, 2016 and February, 2017 using a questionnaire, focus group discussion, and observation as well as transect walk over. Data were analyzed using frequency counts, percentages and inferential statistics, in particular, chi-square cross-tabulation to determine relationships between variables. Data are presented in form of tables, charts, graphs, plates and through narrations.
Findings from the study revealed that adoption of climate smart agriculture practices such as system of paddy intensification (â€œkilimo shadidiâ€), drip irrigation and adoption of drought resistant crop varieties contributed in enhancing adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers amidst climate variability and change. Shortened rains, lack of market access, low price of climate smart agricultural products, farmers-livestock keepersâ€™ conflicts, droughts, lack of climate smart agriculture knowledge, pest and diseases as well as unavailability of credit and farm renting found were major challenges. Besides the fore mentioned challenges, the study vividly reveals opportunities such as high demand for minimum water usage technologies such as drip irrigation, research opportunities on new minimum water usage irrigation technologies, establishment of crop production mills for paddy and maize, employment, increase in demand for agricultural inputs such as improved seeds, pesticides and fertilizers, increase of household incomes as well as soil and water conservation through adoption of climate smart agricultural practices. The study recommended establishment of support services such as agricultural subsidies, technologies, and grant funds to smallholder farmers in enhancing their adaptive capacity and long-term resilience to adverse impacts of climate change and variability. Also, spread awareness through information dissemination and utilization as well as promotion of climate smart agricultural practices training to ensure good implementation of the CSA practices throughout the country.
Keywords: opportunities, challenges, smallholder farmers, climate smart agriculture, adaptation, climate variability, climate change