The Impact of Climate Change on Net Revenue and Food Adequacy of Subsistence Farming Households in South Africa

Peer Reviewed
1 January 2014

This paper examines the impact of climate change on poor households across South Africa who practice 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.

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Publication | 21 July 2014