Vulnerability to drought, adaptation and coping strategies among agro-pastoral communities in Botswana

With the increased threat of climate change effects on the African continent, this study was carried out to document the coping mechanisms against the rampant droughts by the agropastoral communities in Botswana. The study was carried out in Kgalagadi North and Bobonong. Effects of drought in these areas included livestock death, reduced crop yields, low pasture production and increased distances to water livestock. Coping measures included enrolling into government’s labour intensive Public Works Programme, harvesting larvae of Imbrasia belina with food or turning to other sources of income, and storage of crops during good harvests. Other means were planting drought resistant crops, supplemental livestock feeding, transferring livestock to better areas, and selling off animals. These methods however did not ameliorate farmers’ problems. There is therefore need to have more holistic research efforts to tackle the effects of drought in Botswana and elsewhere in Africa.
Avec la menace accrue d’effets du changement climatique sur le continent africain, cette étude a été réalisée afin de documenter les mécanismes d’adaptation contre la sécheresse rampante que vivent les communautés agro-pastorales au Botswana. L’étude a été réalisée dans le Nord Kgalagadi Bobonong. Les effets de la sécheresse dans ces domaines inclus la mort du bétail, la réduction des rendements des cultures, la faible production de pâturage et l’augmentation des distances pour abreuver le bétail. Les mesures d’adaptation comprennent l’inscription dans le travail intensif du programme du gouvernement dans les travaux publics, la récolte des larves de Imbrasia belina avec de la nourriture ou se tourner vers d’autres sources de revenu, et le stockage des cultures au cours de bonnes récoltes. D’autres moyens ont été la semence des cultures résistant à la sécheresse, l’alimentation supplémentaire du bétail, le transfert du bétail dans les meilleures zones, et en vendant des animaux. Ces méthodes n’ont toutefois réduit les problèmes des agriculteurs. Il y a donc besoin de fournir des efforts de recherche plus globale de lutte contre les effets de la sécheresse au Botswana et ailleurs en Afrique.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
Southern Africa
RUFORUM Conferences and Workshops
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Access restriction: 
Printed resource


"The 2010 RUFORUM Biennial Conference was the second in the series. The main objective of the Biennial conferences is to provide a platform for agricultural research for development stakeholders in Africa and beyond to actively exchange findings and experiences, while at the same time learning lessons towards improving performance of the agricultural sector and ultimately people’s livelihoods. The biennial conference is RUFORUM’s most comprehensive meeting for the diversity of stakeholers in agriculture. It is especially dedicated to graduate students and their supervisors, grantees in RUFORUM member universities and alumni. It is a platform for peer review, quality control, mentorship, networking and shared learning. This record contains an extended abstract accepted under the theme climate change"