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Peasant agriculture and climate change adaptation strategies in North Benin





Adaptation to hazards and risk management are both important considerations in most traditional land systems. As a matter of fact, global climate change is locally manifested through the evolutions which modify production conditions. This study is about understanding the strategies developed by the producers in climate change conditions, of its visible effects in the agrarian landscape and the policies set up to face it. It is based on a sample of 270 producers in the different agri-ecological areas in the North of Benin. The impact of climate change on agriculture is diverse and weighs on the people, the capital of exploitations of the results (stock rearing system and crops being less productive). To face these impacts, the producers have set up adaptation systems. They begin modifying their cultural habits. In effect, the farmers change the ranges (search for periodicity as factor of adaptation to the reduction of pluviometry), even the cultivated species to prioritize the hardiest crops. The farming habits also progress as well both in terms of achievement and for the techniques used (stopping work on the soil in certain cases for example). The use of the means of production (work, inputs) is thought to take into account the risks: this is manifested in some cases through extensification, elsewhere through the concentration of the means on the “more plausible” spaces (mainly concerning the available water). Another way of adaptation explored by the producers is based on the development of new agricultural activities in order to try to distribute the risks and /or to adapt themselves to the new conditions of production: integration of new speculations, implantation of food crops by some cattle-breeders, practice of rearing used by farmers, development of truck-farming and small rearing and finally the processing of the products.

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