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Valerie Githinji
and
Todd A. Crane

Abstract

Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Nsisha, a rural village located close to the shores of Lake Victoria in northwestern Tanzania, this article analyzes how climate change and variability intersect with other stressors that affect rural livelihoods, particularly HIV/AIDS. The analysis integrates theories of vulnerability from both climate and HIV/AIDS literatures to show how these intersecting stressors compound livelihood vulnerability in complex ways. Climate change and variability are linked to declining agricultural yields and an increase in food and nutrition insecurity and poor health in this region. This situation heightens poverty and susceptibility to HIV/AIDS, compromising people’s abilities to cope and adapt. Because of social dynamics, single mothers and their children are particularly affected by these compound vulnerabilities. Climate change and variability are significant contributing vulnerability factors that sustain and exacerbate asymmetrical poverty, food and nutrition insecurity, and HIV/AIDS. By describing the links between vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and climate variability, findings highlight the importance of holistic and localized approaches to adaptation, instead of trying to isolate single issues. Prioritization of multidisciplinary research focusing on the socially differentiated and gendered distribution of vulnerability specifically in regard to poverty, food and nutrition insecurity, and HIV/AIDS is recommended as a means to enrich the understanding of climate change vulnerability. Adaptation strategies should address how climatic shifts interact with generalized poverty, food and nutrition insecurity, health, and gendered vulnerability in areas most affected.

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Todd A. Crane
,
Carla Roncoli
,
Joel Paz
,
Norman Breuer
,
Kenneth Broad
,
Keith T. Ingram
, and
Gerrit Hoogenboom
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Todd A. Crane
,
Carla Roncoli
,
Joel Paz
,
Norman Breuer
,
Kenneth Broad
,
Keith T. Ingram
, and
Gerrit Hoogenboom

Abstract

During the last 10 yr, research on seasonal climate forecasts as an agricultural risk management tool has pursued three directions: modeling potential impacts and responses, identifying opportunities and constraints, and analyzing risk communication aspects. Most of these approaches tend to frame seasonal climate forecasts as a discrete product with direct and linear effects. In contrast, the authors propose that agricultural management is a performative process, constituted by a combination of planning, experimentation, and improvisation and drawing on a mix of technical expertise, situated knowledge, cumulative experience, and intuitive skill as farmers navigate a myriad of risks in the pursuit of livelihood goals and economic opportunities. This study draws on ethnographic interviews conducted with 38 family farmers in southern Georgia, examining their livelihood goals and social values, strategies for managing risk, and interactions with weather and climate information, specifically their responses to seasonal climate forecasts. Findings highlight the social nature of information processing and risk management, indicating that both material conditions and value-based attitudes bear upon the ways farmers may integrate climate predictions into their agricultural management practices. These insights translate into specific recommendations that will enhance the salience, credibility, and legitimacy of seasonal climate forecasts among farmers and will promote the incorporation of such information into a skillful performance in the face of climate uncertainty.

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