Vulnerability, institutional arrangements and the adaptation choices made by farmers in the Western Cape of South Africa
CITATION: Raaijmakers, S. & Swanepoel, P. A. 2019. Vulnerability, institutional arrangements and the adaptation choices made by farmers in the Western Cape of South Africa. South African Journal of Plant and Soil, doi:10.1080/02571862.2019.1645219
The original publication is available at https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/tjps20/current
From 2015 to 2018, South Africa suffered from the worst drought since 1904. Climate change is predicted to increase both the frequency and intensity of droughts in parts of South Africa. In this light it is evident that agricultural systems must adapt in order to sustain income and food security of rural populations. One set of adaptation measures offered to farmers centred on Conservation Agriculture (CA). Variation in the form and extent to which farmers embrace adaptation measures in response to drought has been observed. A study was set out to explain variation in the adoption of adaptation measures by testing the particular impact of vulnerability attributes, the effects of which – we hypothesise – are mediated by institutional arrangements. Our sample frame consisted of 30 farmers in two drought-stricken regions: the Swartland (n = 15) and southern Cape (n = 15). Variation on vulnerability attributes was guaranteed by the selection of commercial (n = 16) and emerging (n = 14) farmers. Our results showed that vulnerability attributes, especially the lack of financial, natural, human and physical capital, account for variation in form and extent of adopting CA adaptation measures. In order to ensure inclusive agricultural adaptation, efforts are needed to further facilitate equal adaptation opportunities, especially for marginalised farmers.