Participants of a young women’s focus group discussion in Lushoto Tanzania, June 2016. Photo: C. Hein (University of Arizona).

A new research project, focusing on young farmers responding to climate change in East Africa, has some interesting results.

This project comes from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, and is led by researchers from the University of Arizona. The project is called Youth Decision Making in Agricultural Climate Change Adaptation. 

From the research team:

“At all three sites, the youth displayed detailed understanding of weather patterns and how those have changed over the past ten years, as well as how these changes impact their agriculture practices. The youth were able to cite specific adaptations they had made to improve their agriculture practices, and the resulting improvements to their standard of living, such as having an increase in income and being able to invest in improved housing and transportation.  

“Although these educational successes could be attributed to the involvement of researchers in these areas over several years, there is no doubt that these youth, both men and women, are well versed in and already practicing CSA [climate smart agriculture] techniques, such as contouring, terracing, shade cropping, crop diversification, and use of fertilizers and improved seed varieties, among others.

“The more access youth had to such educational opportunities, the more they reported decision making power in their households. Knowledge, rather than age, gender, or land ownership, was the primary factor in who had input in decision making in agricultural adaptations to climate change – at both the household and community level.

“This conclusion reveals that the barrier to youth moving forward or improving their livelihoods in agriculture was not a lack of knowledge or training, but rather, a lack of access to inputs, which (depending on the site), include; fertilizer, improved seeds, access to loans and capital, and improvements to infrastructure. This infrastructure calls for improved roads, irrigation, and markets – both physical and economic.”

Read more about this project here.