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Socio-economic impacts of climate change on subsistence communities: Some observations from Lesotho

Caxton H. Matarira (Geography Department, Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura, Zimbabwe)
Deepa Pullanikkatil (Leadership for Environment and Development-Southern and Eastern Africa, Zomba, Malawi)
Tawanda Kaseke (Environmental Science Department, Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura, Zimbabwe)
Everness Shava (Environmental Science Department, Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura, Zimbabwe)
Desmond Manatsa (Geography Department, Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura, Zimbabwe)

International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management

ISSN: 1756-8692

Article publication date: 4 November 2013

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Abstract

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.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the Systems for Analysis, Research and Training for funding the research project which culminated in the preparation of this article. Immense support was received from the rural communities in Lesotho during the process of administering the questionnaires. The authors also extend their sincere gratitude to the National University of Lesotho students who assisted in the collection of the data in the field.

Citation

H. Matarira, C., Pullanikkatil, D., Kaseke, T., Shava, E. and Manatsa, D. (2013), "Socio-economic impacts of climate change on subsistence communities: Some observations from Lesotho", International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 404-417. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCCSM-06-2012-0034

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited