Smallholder Farmers’ Responses to Scientific Early Warning on Weather in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

  •  Oluwatoyin Dare Kolawole    
  •  Moseki Ronald Motsholapheko    
  •  Barbara Ntombi Ngwenya    
  •  Ananias Moses    
  •  Melda Nonhle Makebea    
  •  Matshidiso Tshidi Kaisara    


Although formal channels of communication exist for conveying early warning scientific weather messages, it is widely believed that small-scale farmers continue to utilize traditional practices in obtaining weather information. This study identifies and assesses the factors which influence the uptake of scientific early warning weather information by small farmers in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. A descriptive-analytical design was used to study 90 farmers in Kareng and Bodibeng communities situated within the delta basin. A multi-stage sampling procedure was used to select the sample from an existing household listing. A semi-structured interview and focus group discussion (FGD) were used to elicit information from the respondents. Findings show that most farmers (68.9%) moderately utilize scientific weather information, while 16.7% had a low uptake of the messages. Nonetheless, 14.4% of farmers had a high uptake of weather information. There was significant positive correlation, at p≤0.01 confidence level, between uptake of early warning scientific weather information and educational level, age, traditionalism and fatalism. The uptake of scientific weather information or messages had a strong association with information sources such as Kgotla meetings, TV, print media, agricultural extension agents and the radio. The uptake of modern scientific weather information needs to be promoted through these modes of communication, coupled with well-resourced extension services, and in ways that may not be perceived to denigrate indigenous knowledge. Sectoral departments should collaborate in addressing existing challenges for appropriate climate response action.

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