The study establishes the extent to which climate change has occurred in Uganda, analyses choices of adaptation strategies to climate change induced shocks and factors determining the choices made at the household level by gender of the decision maker of the household, and lastly estimates the impact of adaptation strategies employed to covariate shocks on household welfare.
More specifically, analysis of climate variability and change using meteorological data from 13 weather stations across Uganda reveals that Uganda’s climate is varying and changing from the norm. Observations are made from the altered rainfall, temperatures, onset and cessation of rainfall patterns, and increases in occurrences and persistence of climate disasters such as floods and droughts, with negative impacts on the economy and households. Furthermore, utilising microlevel data for a balanced panel of 2,566 original households surveyed in 2005/06 and 2009/10, we identify the choices of adaptation strategies employed in response to climate disasters for both male and female headed households and in addition use a standard pooled Multinomial Logit model (MNL) to examine heterogeneity in factors influencing these choices in both households. Findings show that female headed households reduce consumption through scaling back food intakes and skipping meals while male headed households resort to use of savings as immediate adaptation strategies to drought. However, during floods, female heads increase labour supply and male heads reduce consumption in both surveys. All households use agricultural related technology when faced with crop pests’ attacks. Livestock epidemics drive female headed households to expand labour supply and male headed households to rely on savings through sale of livestock at lower market prices. Generally, agro ecological climate zones in which households live play a key role in various adaptation options to shocks, irrespective of the gender of the household head. Findings point to the need for policy to have separate long term adaptation mechanisms that are gender sensitive. Lastly, we examine heterogeneity in impacts of adaptation strategies to covariate shocks on household welfare using Pooled OLS regression techniques and IV-2SLS method to address endogeneity in regressors. We use consumption expenditure per adult equivalent to proxy for household welfare. Findings show that not all adaptation techniques employed by households for a given climate shock have positive impacts on welfare. Specifically, adaptation strategies employed during drought and floods have a negative impact on welfare, while those employed during livestock epidemics impact positively on welfare. Such findings suggest that the choices of adaptation strategies are behavioural, highly risky and unsustainable leading to further vulnerability of many households especially the poor and those involved in agriculture.