Socio-economic impacts of climate change on subsistence communities: Some observations from Lesotho
International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management
Geography Department, Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura, Zimbabwe; Leadership for Environment and Development-Southern and Eastern Africa, Zomba, Malawi; Environmental Science Department, Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura, Zimbabwe
Purpose: This study was conducted to assess the socio-economic implications of climate change on the three ecological regions of Lesotho. In the view that climate change is affecting agriculture, subsistence communities are at risk. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach: Two villages were randomly selected from three regions of Lesotho and at least 40 households in each region. The full range of economic activities undertaken was covered to understand how climate affects the communities, and how they are. A livelihood sensitivity matrix was used to determine which resources and livelihoods are most vulnerable to different types of climatic hazards and how the different livelihood activities are impacted by different climate hazards. Findings: A large percentage of the community (>95 percent) was aware of the changing climate and the effects on land productivity. Food crops are the most vulnerable to weather, followed by soil and livestock. Climate variables of major concern were hail, drought and dry spells which reduced crop yields. Originality/value: This research is important especially to policy makers to make informed decisions in as far as climate change response strategies in Lesotho are concerned. This research thus gives a baseline on these climate change impacts on subsistence communities. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
adaptation; agriculture; climate change; drought; livestock; socioeconomic impact; subsistence; weather; Lesotho