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Background: Undoubtedly, vulnerability and adaptation of the agricultural sector to the adverse impacts of climate change are among the most crucial concerns of many developing countries where agriculture is largely rain-fed. In Ghana, the cocoa sector is the mainstay of the agricultural sector, contributing about 60% of agricultural GDP. The cacao tree is susceptible to the vagaries of climate, a fact which manifests in outbreak of pests and diseases and their pattern, loss of pods and early ripening of young pods, among others. Cocoa farmers have over the years used short-term (coping) strategies and long-term (adaptation) strategies to offset the effects of climate change on their production.
Methods: A field survey of 444 cocoa farmers in Ghana was conducted, using a guided interview schedule.
Results: Farmers’ coping strategies included those on crop, soil fertility and soil water management practices. Adaptation strategies included behavioural adjustments (spraying, fertilizer application, weed control, pruning) as well as institutional and technological adjustments (change in variety and increased extension services).
Conclusion: The study showed that farmers who perceived that the climate had changed and had some effect on their production usually employed adaptation measures. Differences in farmers in terms of personal managerial and entrepreneurial capacities and family circumstances influence their responses to climate change. However, one major challenge is to separate the adaptations in response to climate change from adaptations in response to other stimuli, such as market price or government policy changes that farmers face in the real world. Assessing adaptation strategies also provides the information needed by cocoa farmers to increase their capacity to moderate potential damages and to take advantage of opportunities, if any, to survive in a changing climate.
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