How local adaptation to climate change affects incomes in Afar, Ethiopia
Rural communities in the drylands of the Afar Region of Ethiopia are severely exposed to the impacts of climate change, having experienced frequent droughts followed by crop failure and livestock deaths. The paper “The effects of adaptation to climate change on income of households in rural Ethiopia” by Melaku Berhe et al, published in Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice (2017 7:12), identifies how pastoralist, agropastoralist and mixed-farming communities in Afar perceive and adapt to climate change and examines whether these practices have improved household income. A panel data set of five years was gathered using structured questionnaires from a sample of 313 households. Household heads pointed out indicators of climate-related stress such as erratic rainfall, drought, temperature change, drying of water sources, prevalence of diseases and lack of human and livestock feed. A fixed effects quantitative model on the panel data was estimated to verify the effect of adaptation strategies on household income.
It was found that the main local adaptation strategies that significantly influenced household income were forage production (hay and straw), access to water sources, livestock diversification and migration. Thus, people severely affected by climate change can actively apply various adaptation strategies, if these are linked to the creation of sustainable income benefits. Integrated approaches comprising adaptation methods and expected benefits are an important way to induce rural communities to address challenges related to climatic change.