MAINSTREAMING CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION IN AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION
Consider the following two families:
Family Number 1
Gilbert and his family are subsistence farmers eking out an existence on a
small farm in a semi-arid area. They have a few chickens and two goats and no
savings. Without draught animals they are forced to cultivate their land by hand,
limiting the area they can plant. They have few skills, never having attended any
training or had contact with the extension services.
They have two small children.
Luckily the man of the house, Gilbert, is able to supplement their farming income
with casual labour on nearby road-works. They are struggling, but surviving from
day to day.
Then Gilbert loses his job – the road works are completed and no other
labouring jobs are available. They are reduced to eating two meals a day and as
they can no longer afford the fees, the eldest child is forced to leave school. But
they are still surviving albeit under extreme hardship.
While out gathering firewood, Gilbert's wife is injured and requires treatment at
the nearest clinic. Despite selling their remaining chickens, transport and
medicine costs force them to borrow from a local money lender who charges
exorbitant rates of interest.
They are now in debt and the wife is unable to work.
Without access to local veterinary advice, and unable to afford the drugs needed
to routinely treat their goats for worms, one goat dies and the other is rapidly
A drought comes: Crops fail. The family have no reserves and despite
resorting to eating only one meal a day, they are unable to cope. They have no
options other than to become dependent on food aid or abandon their home and
migrate in search of work.
A Training Manual on Use of Climate Information and Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment for
Agricultural Extension Staff in Zimbabwe