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Agriculture on the Brink: Climate Change, Labor and Smallholder Farming in Botswana

Geography Department, Macalester College, 1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105-1899, USA
Academic Editors: Claudia A. Radel and Jacqueline M. Vadjunec
Received: 27 October 2015 / Revised: 9 June 2016 / Accepted: 13 June 2016 / Published: 27 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Changing Land Use, Changing Livelihoods)
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Botswana is a semi-arid, middle-income African country that imports 90 percent of its food. Despite its relative prosperity, Botswana also suffers from one of the highest measures of income inequality in the world, persistent poverty, and relatively high levels of food insecurity. The objective of this paper is to explore how political economy, climate change and livelihood dynamics are synergistically impacting household food security. The major finding is that the marginalization of smallholder farming in Botswana has as much or more to do with domestic, regional and international political economy as it does with climate change. As such, international efforts to support climate change adaptation in Botswana will have a limited effect on smallholder farming livelihoods and rural food security unless such efforts take account of political economic constraints. Effective support must be based on a grounded understanding of the real drivers of marginalization and food insecurity. One initiative that merits further exploration is the government’s backyard gardening initiative, which could be viewed as a pro-poor climate adaptation strategy. The findings of this paper are based on semi-structured interviews with policymakers and surveys with urban, peri-urban and rural households undertaken in 2012 and 2015. View Full-Text
Keywords: agriculture; climate change; farm labor; food security; gardening; livelihoods agriculture; climate change; farm labor; food security; gardening; livelihoods

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MDPI and ACS Style

Moseley, W.G. Agriculture on the Brink: Climate Change, Labor and Smallholder Farming in Botswana. Land 2016, 5, 21.

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