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Vassar College

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Program Name

Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology


Agriculture is a large part of the economy and society of Tanzania, equating to 28% of the country’s GDP. Up to 80% of these farms are owned and worked by 19 million smallholder agriculturalists (FAO, 2015). Smallholder farmers are an inherently vulnerable demographic, due to their high reliance on agriculture for food and income in addition to their limited financial, technological, and labor resources (Morton, 2007). Simultaneously, these farmers are often uniquely adapted for the challenges they face, having developed strategies of addressing and mitigating risks over many generations. This study investigates the adaptative capacity of smallholder farmers in Sagara Village, Lushoto District, Tanga Region, Tanzania. Through interviews with farmers (n = 41) and key informants (n = 2), this study assesses farmers’ perceptions of previous and present climatic changes, the various coping and adaptative strategies they employ in response, and relevant socioeconomic and institutional factors at play which act to diminish or increase the adaptative capacity of the smallholder community. This study found that the majority of the interviewed farmers had perceived significant climatic changes in rainfall and temperature in previous years. The farmers used many strategies to mitigate the challenges of these climatic changes, but were inhibited by low access to agricultural education, as well as economic difficulties such as low demand for crops and low selling prices.


African Studies | Agricultural and Resource Economics | Agricultural Economics | Agriculture | Environmental Studies | Food Studies | Natural Resource Economics | Other Environmental Sciences | Place and Environment


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