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The impact of climate change on net revenue and food adequacy of subsistence farming households in South Africa

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2014

Byela Tibesigwa
Affiliation:
Environmental-Economics Policy Research Unit, School of Economics, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7700, Cape Town, South Africa. E-mail: byela.tibesigwa@gmail.com
Martine Visser
Affiliation:
Environmental-Economics Policy Research Unit, School of Economics, University of Cape Town, South Africa. E-mail: martine.visser@uct.ac.za
Jane Turpie
Affiliation:
Environmental-Economics Policy Research Unit, School of Economics, University of Cape Town, South Africa. E-mail: jane@anchorenvironmental.co.za

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of climate change on poor households across South Africa who practise subsistence farming to supplement their household income and dietary requirements. We consider three production systems: specialized crops, livestock and mixed crop-livestock farming. In general, we find specialized crop farmers to be the most vulnerable, while mixed crop-livestock farmers appear to be least vulnerable, suggesting that crop-livestock diversification is a potential coping strategy among poor subsistence farming households. We observe qualitatively similar results when we use self-reported food adequacy as the outcome. Furthermore, predicted impact shows that the climatic changes will be mildly harmful at first but will grow over time and lead to a 151 per cent loss in net revenue by the year 2080. Interestingly, we observe that crop farmers receive higher revenue when land is owned by the household, while on the other hand, livestock farmers earn more revenue when the land is communal.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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