Modelling the Socio-Economic Benefits of the Adoption of Climate Information: An Innovative Approach to Subsistence Farmer Adaptation to Climate Change in Garu-Tempane District, Ghana
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- Department of Geography 
Decreasing average crop yield resulting mainly from variability and changes in climatic conditions continues to worsen food insecurity and the already low incomes of subsistence farmers in the Garu-Tempane District, Ghana. These devastating impacts on the livelihoods of subsistence farmers persist in part due to the continuous reliance on indigenous climate information and cultivation of indigenous seed with a share of land of about 81%. Garu-Tempane is located within the savannah sahel vegetation zone ― a region very vulnerable to climate variability and changes. With about 70% of the district’s population engaged actively in crop farming, changes in climatic conditions has been an undesirable phenomenon to deal with among farmers. Climate-smart seed and scientific climate information has the potential to reduce the impacts of climate change. However, adoption rates in the district are low ― about 19% farm land coverage. It is thus exigent to investigate the reasons for the low adoption rate. Even though much is reported in literature on the low adoption rate of climate information and climate-smart seed among farmers, little is known about the hindrances to adoption. With a system dynamics simulation model, this research explains the reference behaviour and identifies policy options for effective adaptation to climate change by subsistence farmers in the district. Anchored on adoption and diffusion of agriculture technology modelling, the research brings to light, the impact of climate information on crop yield and incomes of subsistence farmers in the district, the factors that affect adoption and how these can be addressed to enable farmers to turn the challenges of climate change into opportunities. A rigorous approach of data collection and triangulation from participatory learning with communities, focus groups, interviews with climate information service providers and secondary data are the basis upon which conclusions are drawn. Identified in this study, main factors that affect the adoption of both climate information and climate smart-seed include: trust in climate-smart seed and scientific climate information, knowledge in the cultivation of climate-smart seed and input cost. Trust in the climate-smart seed is necessary to speed up further adoption towards the transition from the indigenous seed trajectory to climate-smart seed. Equally important is knowledge, comprising most importantly climate information (onset and cessation of rainfall and extreme weather events) and existing farm management practise as well as learning from extension services to meet the variability and changes in climatic conditions. According to the study, what farmers need is reliable farmer specific weather/climate forecast. It is indispensable in the knowledge upgrading process to make available climate information/seasonal forecast with in-season updates and climate resilient seed to enable farmers to make informed decisions to increase harvest. Most important is the affordability of input costs especially of fertilizer cost because maize does well when fertilizer is applied to it. Farmer household income levels determines the affordability of climate information and seed. And adoption of scientific climate information and appropriate advisories (climate-smart seed) is a necessary condition for a transition from subsistence agriculture to commercial farming and to make these affordable. Proposed policy options from the simulation model include subsidising fertilizer prices further for example by 50% to increase adoption of climate-smart seed and information in the short run. This will help increase and stabilise incomes to enable farmers to pay the actual cost of fertilizer. Constructing climate information centres (designed with loud speakers) will help disseminate climate information/seasonal forecast to a number of communities at a time to reduce cost of individual subscription to climate information service providers. These centres could also serve as platforms for marketing farm produce. Instituting radio programmes would create a platform for farmers to share best practises to increase knowledge of other farmers as well as farmer field schools and demonstration farms. These would shorten trust adjustment in climate-smart seed and information and increase knowledge significantly within a short period of time for increased adoption.