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The determinants of adoption of climate smart agricultural (csa) practices and its effects on smallholder maize farmer’s welfare.

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The smallholder farmers’ maize production is highly vulnerable to climate change. Higher temperatures eventually reduce yields while encouraging the growth of weeds, pests, and diseases. Climate change is having a negative impact on agriculture, threatening global food security. Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) is considered as a strategy for transforming agri-food system into more environmentally friendly and climate-resilient practices. However, evidence on the socio-economic drivers of farmers‘ adoption of CSA practices and its effect on food security and yields remain limited. The study is set out to assess how CSA improves the welfare of smallholder maize farmers in the KwaZulu Natal local municipalities of uMshwathi and uKhahlamba. The study explored three specific objectives. The first objective was to assess the determinants of adoption and intensity of CSA Practices among smallholder maize farmers. The second was to evaluate the effect of CSA adoption on small-holder farmers' household food security and the third was to evaluate the distributional effect of CSA adoption on small-holder maize farmers' productivity in the study areas. The study used a quantitative approach. A multistage random sampling was employed to select 99 respondents, 49 from Swayimane and 50 from Bergville. In assessing the determinants of adoption and intensity of CSA Practices among smallholder maize farmers, the study used the double hurdle count model. The Household Hunger Scale (HHS) was used to determine the food security status of the smallholder maize farmers while Ordered Regression Model (ORM), was used to evaluate the effect of CSA adoption on smallholder maize farmers' food status. The Conditional Instrumental Variable Quantile Treatment (IV-QTE) effect approach was used to assess the distributional effect of CSA adoption on smallholder farmers’ maize yields. The descriptive results indicated that farmers had experienced severe climatic conditions such as drought, pests, diseases, hailstorms, heavy rains (floods), soil infertility, and frost in their farming system. The first hurdle of the Probit model revealed that drought, on-farm income, and household size positively and significantly influenced the adoption of CSA practices. On the other hand, the primary source of income and educational level had a significant negative influence. The second hurdle of the Poisson model revealed that drought significantly impacted the intensity of CSA adoption, whereas marital status significantly negatively impacted CSA practices. The results show that 79% of the farmers experienced little or no hunger, while 13% experienced moderate hunger and only 8% experienced severe hunger. According to the LRM, the drought had a significant negative relationship with household food security, while the main source of income and age had a significant positive relationship. The empirical findings discovered that the impact of adoption was higher and significant at a lower tail quantile (0,5) yield distribution of 91.9%. Total household income and on-farm income were positively significant on yields at the lower quantile (0,5), whereas the main source of income was negatively significant. Total household income and on-farm income were positively significant to yields at the second quantile (0,25), while CSA adoption, smartphones, and the main source of income were negatively significant. Household size and on-farm income were positively significant to yields at the middle quantile (0,50), while CSA adoption and marital status were negatively significant. On-farm income and farmer association were positively significant on yields at quantile 0,75, while marital status was negatively affected. Variables such as total household income, on-farm income, and farmer association membership were positively significant in the upper quantile of 0.85. Word of mouth, by which farmers share information with their family and friends, significantly improved the knowledge about climate change and adaptation. Most smallholder farmers experienced little to no hunger. The main source of income influenced the food security status of the smallholder farmers. The experience of drought contributed to food insecurity of smallholder farmers. While adoption of CSA practices did not considerably improve food security status but the contribution of CSA adoption towards food security cannot be ignored. Farming households with low yields benefit significantly more from CSA adoption. The study suggests that when developing climate change adaptation programs, policymakers and climate change champions consider the socioeconomic factors of smallholder farmers. Local climate change organizations should collaborate to increase climate change awareness and adaptation programs. Public climate and adaptation education or training, localized meteorological observations, early warning systems, and mass media dissemination of climate change and adaptation information in locally understood languages is urgently required. To be more resilient to climate change effect, farmers should be encouraged to include a comprehensive diverse CSA package. Keywords: Climate change impact, Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA), CSA adoption, smallholder farmers, Household Hunger Scale, Maize yields, IV-QTEQ


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.