In response to climate change impacts on maize production farmers, used different response strategies to deal with the situation. Results from this study revealed that there were major constraints faced by farmers (Table 4.11) that hindered them to achieve effective response strategies to climate change impacts. Farmers reported that financial, technological as well as institutional factors and lack of adequate information were barriers that were major limitations to farmers’ response to effective strategies as further elaborated as follows:
Financial barrier: The study found out that farmers had difficulties to adopt effective strategies to respond to climate change impacts due to poverty. In due regard, it was difficult for them to get more yields that need enough capital to harvest water, drill boreholes, irrigation infrastructures as well as to purchase a modernized improved variety. This finding is related to results from a study conducted in Kilimanjaro by Adeline (2010) who reported that inadequate capital was the major obstacle facing farmers (70%) in changing their agricultural practices to enhance their capability in addressing CC impacts. The obstacle was also reported in the study conducted in Limpopo river basin of South Africa whereby inadequate access to farm inputs due to lack of capital was the factor/constraints to effective CC adaptation (Gbetibouo, 2009). Use fertilizers as one of adaptation strategies by farmers in Tanzania was a problem and due to inadequate capital, their purchasing power was very low because prices for fertilizer were higher than they can afford (URT, 2005).
Technological barriers: The study findings disclosed that inadequate or better technology hindered farmers to make better use of irrigation activities. The challenge seemed to put to the government officials who ignored community advice on the dam designs. The major challenges were on poor designs of irrigation facilities (Mkungugu dam), a pattern, which leads the government to spend a lot of money without returns.. According to Adeline (2010), farmers thought that availability of funds was the best way for them to deal with climate related challenges like construction of irrigation infrastructures and technical know-how was still important. Similarly, studies by Hamidov (2015) as well as Rap and Wester (2013) revealed that poor designs and decline of management of irrigation facilities in the late twentieth century have contributed to extensive worsening of irrigation systems. Also the study by Nuutinen and co-workers (2017) in Burkina Faso reported that poor design led to water leakage from the harvesting dam.
Moreover, Moyo and colleagues (2016) confirmed that technological barrier at Mkoba and Silalatshani irrigation schemes in Zimbabwe led to siltation problems that cannot afford irrigation throughout the year. On the other side, a study by Mngumi (2016) reported that absence of effective irrigation infrastructures and well organized team affected development of irrigation projects in Mwanga District. Also Smit and Skinner (2002) argued that lack of advanced technology affects farmers to adopt new technology that could help to produce enough food under the era of climate change..
Institutional barrier: From an institutional point of view, the study found that farmers in the study area disclosed about inadequate extension officers, absence of nearest station/shop for selling farm inputs, unpredictable and reliable markets as well as lack of appropriate coordination between farmers, government and NGOs. All have been allowed by the government to sell inputs to the households and but their absence has been the major obstacle towards addressing CC impact.
This finding is similar to the study by Agyei and his colleagues (2013) in Ghana, who reported that in different Sub-Saharan African countries, extension officers are snowed under a large number of smallholder farmers they serve, thereby making it virtually difficult to serve the requirements of all farmers. This was also reported by the study conducted by Ndaki (2014) in Same district in Kilimanjaro region. He (ibid.) found that out of four studied villages, two of them had extension officers at ward level and farmers complained that even at the time the extension officer was available, they got many problems to access the service.
Agyei and colleagues (2013) reported that lack of a reliable market was a major obstacle for household farmers to adopt CC impacts. For instance, in Northeast Ghana, due to inadequate reliable markets, farmers lack bargaining power to negotiate in arranging a better price for their crops. As a result, they have to accept the price provided by traders (ibid.). Similar to this, household farmers in Ghana have been also encouraged to grow cassava as the drought tolerant crops, but the problem they face is lack of market, and this has contributed to majority of them to have failed to repay their loans (ibid.).
Also another barrier is lack of adequate information: Poor and inadequate access to appropriate weather information is another barrier on dealing with CC impacts by farmers. Respondents in this study disclosed that there is an inadequate weather information service that can be used to help local people understand exactly the time/date of farm preparations and planting time. A similar finding was reported by Ndamana and Tsunemi (2015) in Ghana whereby the main sources of weather information are television and radio broadcasts. However, many farmers did not have electronic instruments and hence, they were unable to access weather information.
The study by Ziervoget and co-authors (2010) carried out in Ghana reported that lack of appropriate weather data led to limited climatic projection. As a result, such pattern affected majority of farmers who relied on rain-fed agriculture because most predictions are released on a seasonal basis such that it is not helpful in long-term planning. This argument was reported by Adger (2009) who disclosed that inadequate CC information is the potential obstacle to successful adaptation strategies. Also another study by Agyei and co-workers (2013) in Ghana upheld that many weather stations are not fully equipped to offer real time weather information such that it prevents timely prediction and status of rainfall distribution, which may help farmers to take appropriate decision. In due regard, majority of farmers use traditional knowledge, based on past experience, to predict rainfall. This argument made by Agyei and his colleagues (2013) is directly related to finding of this study because majority of local people use traditional knowledge and experience such as astronomy (Kitimila), domestication (Cow gathering), migratory birds and bee movement to predict rainfall.