Climatic risk adaptation strategies by smallholder livestock farmers in Eastern Amhara Region, Ethiopia


  •   Habtemariam Assefa

  •   Paul Kibwika

  •   Florence Birungi Kyazze

  •   Zeleke Mekuriaw

  •   Fred Kalanzi


The study was conducted to analyze the predominant climatic risks and the strategies livestock farmers used to adapt climatic risks in Eastern Amhara Region of Ethiopia. Cross-sectional research design was used with mixed quantitative and qualitative research approach. The data were collected from 317 livestock farmers using household survey; and FGDs, key informant interviews and personal observation for complementation. The data were analyzed using STATA (version-14) and SPSS (version 23) software. The result shows that, 79.8% of livestock farmers were affected by different climatic risks over the period of 2009-2018. They were affected by drought, animal disease outbreak (ADOB), flood and frost. The percentage of the farmers affected by climatic risks have been fluctuating from year to years but the trends show increased over the last ten years. Every year, 6.7%, 6.8%, 6.4% and 3.6% of livestock farmers were affected by drought, frost, animal disease outbreak (ADOB) and flood, respectively. Seasonally, livestock farmers impacted by drought, flood and frost in autumn, summer and spring, respectively. Animal disease outbreak has occurred in all seasons but higher in autumn. The perception of the farmers was measured based on the frequencies of climatic risks occurrences and the severity level of their impacts. Majority of the farmers perceived that the frequencies of droughts (49.8%) and frosts (43.2%) increased over the last ten years; whereas flood (68.8%) and ADOB (67.5%) decreased. The impacts of drought and ADOB were found at moderate level of severity with the value of 2.2 and 1.8 WAI, respectively; whereas frost and flood at lower severity level, which accounts for 1.4 and 1.3 WAI values, respectively. Saving surplus feed (99.4%), using modern animal healthcare (91.8%), conserving soil and water resources (70.8%) and improving/ customizing animal shelters/shades (60.3%); and keeping stress resistance breeds (52.7%) were major strategies for livestock farmers to adapt to climatic risks. These findings imply that drought and ADOB are the predominant climatic risks for livestock farmers in Eastern Amhra Region. Drought majorly occur in autumn; whereas ADOBs occur throughout the year. The farmers also use multiple strategies to adapt to the diverse impacts of the risks. However, the farmers are still vulnerable to the risks and remaining in food insecure. To be the farmers more effective, therefore, the existing adaptation strategies should be supported with science and technology to create stress resistance breeds, improve the quality and availability of feeds and animal health management.

Keywords: adaptation, climatic risks, livestock farmer, North Wollo


Abdela, N., & Jilo, K. Impact of Climate Change on Livestock Health : A Review. 2016, Glob. Vet, 16(5), pp. 419–424.

Abramovitz, J., Banuri, T., Girot, P. O., Orlando, B., Schneider, N., Spanger-Siegfried, E., Switzer, J., & Hammill, A. Adapting to climate change: Natural Resource Management and Vulnerability Reduction. 2007, Envi and Urbanization, 19(1), 99.

Abrham Belay, John W Recha, T. W. and J. F. M. Smallholder farmers’ adaptation to climate change and determinants of their adaptation decisions in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. 2017, Agric.& Food Security, 6(1), 1–13.

Addisu H., Hailu M., Z. W. Indigenous Chicken Production System and Breeding Practice in North Wollo, Amhara Region, Ethiopia. 2013, Poultry, Fisheries & Wildlife Sciences, 1(2), pp.1–9.

Alemayehu, K., & Getu, A. Impacts of climate variability on livestock population dynamics and breed distribution patterns in selected districts of Western. 2016, Animal Genetic Resources, 59, pp.113–121.

ANRS bureau of Agricultural and Rural Development. Annual Report. 2015, unpublished; Bureau of Agricultural and Rural Development, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.

ANRSLDA (Amhara National Regional State Livestock Development Agency). Growth and Transformation Program –II. 2015, [unpblished]; Bureau of Agricultural and Rural Development, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.

Asmare, B., & Meheret, F. Smallholder farmers livestock production on the face of climate change in Bahir Dar, Zuria district, northwestern Ethiopia. 2018, Biodiversitas, 19(6), 2329–2334.

Asnake, B., & Elias, E. Challenges and extents of Soil and Water Conservation measures in Guba-Lafto Woreda of North Wollo, Ethiopia. 2017, J. Agric Res. Dev., 7(2), 0103–0110.

Asrat Guja, Yoseph Mekasha, H. K. and T. T. Comparative analysis of climate change impact on livestock in relation to biomass base feed availability using standardized precipitation index in south-western Ethiopia. 2018, Int. J. Liv. Prod., 9(7), 184–191.

Asrat, P., & Simane, B. Farmers’ perception of climate change and adaptation strategies in the Dabus watershed, North-West Ethiopia. 2018, Springer, 7(7), 1–13.

Asresie, A. Contribution of Livestock Sector in Ethiopian Economy : A Review. 2015, Adv. Life Scie. Tech (Vol. 29). pp. 79-91.

Atinkut B., & Mebrat A. Determinants of farmers choice of adaptation to climate variability in Dera woreda, south Gondar zone, Ethiopia. 2016, Envi. Sys. Res., 5(1), 1-8.

Bekele Megersa, Andre Markemann, Ayana Angassa, Joseph O. Ogutu, Hans-Peter Piepho and Zarate, A. V. Livestock Diversification : an Adaptive Strategy to Climate and Rangeland Ecosystem Changes in Southern Ethiopia Livestock Diversification : an Adaptive Strategy to Climate and Rangeland Ecosystem Changes in Southern Ethiopia. 2018, Springer, 42(4), 509–520.

Berhanu, W., & Beyene, F. Climate variability and household adaptation strategies in southern Ethiopia. 2015, Sustainability (Switzerland), 7(6), 6353–6375.

Birara E. & Zemen A. Assessment of the Role of Livestock in Ethiopia : A Review. 2016, American-Eurasian J. Scie. Res., 11(5), 405–410.

Carty H. Climate Change and Animal Health: A Concern for Today or Tomorrow?. 2013, FARMING Connect Cyswllt FFERMIO.

CSA (Central Statistical Agency). Agricultural sample survey. 2017, Volume II, report on Livestock and livestock characteristics, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

CSA (Central Statistical Agency). Key Findings of the 2014/2015 (2007 E.C.). 2015, Agricultural Sample Surveys, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Chand M.B., Upadhyay B.P., & M. R. Biogas option for mitigating and adaptation of climate change. 2012, Ren Sym Comp, 1, 5–9.

Deressa T., H. R. and C. C. Perception of and adaptation to climate change by farmers in the Nile basin of Ethiopia. 2010, J. Agric. Scie., 149, 23–31.

FAO. Climate Change and Food Security Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Agriculture. 2012,

Fikeremaryam Birara, Melaku Berhe, G. G. and D. H. Determinants of adaptation choices to climate change by sheep and goat farmers in Northern Ethiopia: the case of Southern and Central Tigray, Ethiopia. 2016, SpringerPlus, 5(1).

Gebiso, T. Livestock production system characterization in Arsi Zone, Ethiopia. 2018, Int. J. Liv. Prod., 9(9), 238–245.

Gebreselassie A. & Bekele T. A Review of Ethiopian Agriculture : Roles, Policy and Small-scale Farming Systems. 2012, (D. K. and W. Grech (ed.); Issue Medic 1999). Gloabal Growing Casebook.

Gebreyes M., Tesfaye K., & Feleke B. Climate change adaptation-disaster risk reduction nexus: case study from Ethiopia. 2017, Int. J. Clim. Change Strategies and Management, 9(6), 829–845.

Gedefaw M, Girma A, Denghua Y, & Hao W., A. G. Farmer’s Perceptions and Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change, Its Determinants and Impacts in Ethiopia: Evidence from Qwara District. 2018, J. Earth Sci. Clim Change, 09(07), 1-8.

Getu, A. The effects of climate change on livestock production , current situation and future consideration. 2015, Int. J. Agric. Sci., 5(3), 494–499.

Gizaw S., Komen H., Hanotte O., Arendonk J. a. M., Van, Kemp S., Haile A., Mwai O. & Dessie T. Characterization and Conservation of Indigenous Sheep Genetic Resources: a Practical Framework for Developing Countries. 2011, ILRI Research Report No. 27. Nairobi, Kenya, ILRI.

Hailu S. The Impact of Disaster Risk Management Intervention in Humanitarian Programs on Household Food. 2013. - Impact of DRM Interventions in North Wollo Ethiopia.pdf.

Haque, N. Climate Change and Its Impact On Animal Health and Production. 2018, Bull. Env. Pharmacol. Life Sci., 6(4), 177–184.

Herrero M., Addison J., Bedelian C., Carabine E., Havlík P., Henderson B., Steeg J., Van De & Thornton P. K. Climate change and pastoralism : impacts, consequences and adaptation. 2016, 35(2), 417–433.

Hoffmann I. Climate change and the characterization, breeding and conservation of animal genetic resources. 2010, Animal Genetics, 41(1), 32–46.

Hoving I. E., Stienezen M. W. J., Hiemstra S. J., van Dooren H. J., de Buisonjé, F. E. & Research W. U. R. L. Adaptation of livestock systems to climate change; functions of grassland, breeding, health and housing. 2014, Wageningen, Wageningen UR (University & Research centre) Livestock Research, Livestock Research Report 793.

IPCC. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. 2007, Working Group II Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

IPCC. Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. 2014, Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Keller M. Climate Risks and Development Projects. 2009, unpublished; reports of Bread for all, Guduru, Oromiya, Ethiopia.

Kuwornu J. K. M., Al-Hassan R. M., Etwire P. M, O.-O. Y. Adaptation Strategies of Smallholder Farmers to Climate Change and Variability : Evidence from Northern Ghana. 2013, Info.Man.& Business Review, 5(5), 233–239.

Levin, K. A. Study design III: Cross-sectional studies. 2006, Evidence-Based Dentistry, 7(1), 24–25.

Maharjan S. K. Local Adaptation Plan of Action Framework and Process in the Agricultural SEctor in Nepal. 2019, Int. J. Cons. Sci., 10(2), 315–364.

Mati, B. M. Soil and Water Conservation Structures for Smallholder Agriculture. 2012, Training manual 5, pp.3–60.

McCornick P. G., Kamara A. B. & Tadesse G. Integrated water and land management research and capacity building priorities for Ethiopia. 2003, Proceeding a MoWR/EARO/IWMI/ILRI Int. Workshop Held at ILRI, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2-4 Dec, 2002.

Mendelsohn R & Diana A. Exploring adaptations of climate change in agriculture. 2005, The Potentila of Cross Sectional Analysis ARD, World Bank, 3(1).

Mengistu D. K. Farmers’ perception and knowledge on climate change and their coping strategies to the related hazards: case study from Adiha, central Tigray, Ethiopia. 2011. Agricultural Sciences, 02(02), 138–145.

Mimura N., R.S. Pulwarty, D.M. Duc, I. Elshinnawy, M.H. Redsteer, H.Q. Huang, J.N. Nkem, and R. A. S. R. Adaptation Planning and Implementation. 2014, In K. J. M. C.B., V.R. Barros, D.J. Dokken, A. N. L. M.D. Mastrandrea, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, & and L. L. W. S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea (Eds.), Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (pp. 869–898). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

MoFED (Ministry of Finance and Economic Development) Growth and Transformation Plan (2010/11-2014/15). 2010, Unpublished; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ndamani F., Watanabe T., Ndamani F. & Watanabe T. Determinants of farmers’ adaptation to climate change: A micro level analysis in Ghana. 2016, Sci. Agricola, 73(3), 201–208.

North Wollo zone Livestock and Fishery Development Agency. Annual Report. 2018, unpublished, Woldia, North Wollo zone.

North Wollo Zone Disaster Risk Management Project coordinator (2014). Annual Progress Report. Woldia, North Wollo zone [unpublished].

North Wollo Zone Disaster Risk Management Project coordinator. Annual Progress Report. 2012, Woldia, North Wollo zone [Unpublished].

Portia A. W., Reuben T. L., Isaac Y., & Godfred K. F. Smallholder farmers experiences of climate variability and change on pineapple production in Ghana: Examining adaptation strategies for improved production. 2018, J. Agric. Ext. & Rur. Dev., 10(2), 35–43.

Rojas-downing M. M., Nejadhashemi A. P., Harrigan T. & Woznicki S. A. Climate Risk Management Climate change and livestock : Impacts , adaptation , and mitigation. 2017, Climate Risk Management, 16, 145–163.

Ruo G., Brhane Weldegebrial, G. Y. and G. Y. Climate Change Adaptation Practices by Ruminant Livestock Producer of in Hintalo Wajerat District Tigray Regional State, Northern Ethiopia. 2018, Biom. J. Sci. & Tech. Res., 5(4), 8809–8828.

Shamsul M., Bhuiyan A., Bhuiyan A. K. F. H., Lee J. H. & Lee S. H. Community based livestock breeding programs in Bangladesh: Present status and challenges. 2017, J. Ani. Breeding and Genomics, 1(2), 77–84.

Solomon T. and Firew T.egene. Impacts of climate change on livestock production and productivity and different adaptation strategies in Ethiopia. 2018, J. Apl. & Adv. Res., 3(3), 52–58.

Sujakhu N. M., Ranjitkar S., Niraula R. R., Pokharel B. K., Schmidt-Vogt D. & Xu J. Farmers’ Perceptions of and Adaptations to Changing Climate in the Melamchi Valley of Nepal. 2016, Mountain Res. & Dev., 36(1), 15–30.

Tadesse, D., Ayalew, W., & Hegde, B. P. On-farm Phenotypic Characterization of Cattle Genetic Resources in South and North Wollo Zones of Amhara Region, North Eastern Ethiopia. 2008, Ethiopian J. Ani. Prod., 8(1), 22–38.

Tarr, B.. Cold stress in cows. 2007, Ontario. 1198-712X

Tembo G., Tembo A., Goma F., Kapekele E. & Sambo, J. Livelihood activities and the role of livestock in smallholder farming communities of Southern Zambia. 2014, J. Social Sci., Vol. 2, 299–307.

Wolde M., Dessalegn C., Seifu A., Adugnaw T., Christian D., Assefa D., Tigist Y., Tammo S., Essayas K. Sustaining the benefits of soil and water conservation in the highlands of Ethiopia. 2015, technical brief, No. 03.

Tripathi, A., & Mishra, A. K. Knowledge and passive adaptation to climate change: An example from Indian farmers. 2017, Clim. Risk Man, 16, 195–207.

Veerasamy M. S., Samal L., Haque N., Bagath M., Hyder I., Maurya V. P., Bhatta R., Ravindra J. P., Prasad C. S., & L. R. Overview on Adaptation, Mitigation and Amelioration Strategies to Improve Livestock Production Under the Changing Climatic Scenario. 2015. In V. Sejian & J. Gaughan (Eds.), Climate Change Impact on Livestock : Adaptation and Mitigation (pp. 359–398). Springer.


How to Cite
Assefa, H., Kibwika, P., Kyazze, F., Mekuriaw, Z., & Kalanzi, F. (2020). Climatic risk adaptation strategies by smallholder livestock farmers in Eastern Amhara Region, Ethiopia. European Journal of Agriculture and Food Sciences, 2(3).