Building resilience to climate-related shocks: farmers’ vulnerability to climate shocks in the Niger basin of Benin
L’impact socio-économique et environnemental de la pauvreté et des inégalités en Afrique
- Boris Odilon Kounagbè Lokonon
This study assesses the vulnerability of farm-based livelihood systems to climate shocks in the Niger basin of Benin. The indicator approach is used to calculate the vulnerability to climate shocks as function of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity and a Classification and Regression Tree model is used to assess its meaningfulness. Adaptive capacity is decomposed in five sub-components, which are financial capital, physical, institutional capital and technology, natural capital, human capital and social capital. The findings highlight that the highest vulnerability to climate shocks does not necessarily coincide with highest exposure and sensitivity, and lowest adaptive capacity. Social capital is very important in building the resilience of farm-based livelihood systems; they rely on it when they lack the other kinds of capital. The vulnerability of farm-based livelihoods depends also on the nature of climate shocks. The most important climate shocks affecting vulnerability are heat waves, droughts, and erratic rainfalls. Forecasts suggest that vulnerability to climate shocks will increase, in the absence of adaptation. Building resilience of farm-based livelihood systems to climate shocks should be through each of the three components of vulnerability, by taking into account the specific adaptation potentialities of the agro-ecological zones.