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Abstract

Climate change acts as a threat multiplier and partly accounts for the level of poverty among farmers. Effective adaption is required with the anticipated further change in climate. However, the judgment of people on climate change is sometimes wrong, which could affect adaptation. Also, adaptation practices could actually constitute maladaptation, which many researchers have not focused on. This study therefore focused on a sample of 299 cereal crop farmers to assess their perception of climate change, their adaptation practices and the effect of these practices on maize yield. The study employs the concurrent mixed research design where methods of agreement are used to analyze qualitative information and the multivariable least square technique, complemented with a score matching technique, is used to analyze quantitative information. The analysis shows that there is an adaptation deficit with the current yield of maize falling below potential levels. Majority of the farmers have positive perception of climate change and are aware of the reversed causality between climate change and farming activities. We observed that adaptation to climate change is widespread; practices such as the intensive use of agro-chemicals, expansion of cultivated lands and adoption of improved cultivars were commonplace. However, not all of these practices have positive relationship with maize yield. Expenditure on agrochemicals, application of manure and introduction of new cultivars are significantly associated with higher maize yield alongside other socioeconomic factors of the farmer. We conclude that sustainable use of agrochemicals should be encouraged since unsustainable use has consequence on nature and the future of the climate. Alternatively, manure application should be encouraged. Finally, we observed that planned adaptation services need to be pursued by government to facilitate autonomous adaptation practices of the farmer.

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