Atmosphere, Vol. 14, Pages 900: Nexus between Social Vulnerability and Resilience to Agricultural Drought amongst South African Smallholder Livestock Households

Atmosphere, Vol. 14, Pages 900: Nexus between Social Vulnerability and Resilience to Agricultural Drought amongst South African Smallholder Livestock Households

Atmosphere doi: 10.3390/atmos14050900

Authors:
Yonas T. Bahta
Willem A. Lombard

Livestock farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa rely on rain-fed agriculture, which exposes them to the risks of agricultural drought. Agricultural drought has become a significant threat to the extreme mortality of livestock, thus negatively impacting social vulnerability and household resilience to agricultural drought and extreme events. Researchers rarely empirically assess the connection between vulnerability and resilience, which are highly related concepts. By measuring and connecting vulnerability and resilience concepts closely related to disasters such as agricultural drought, this article makes a contribution to the body of disaster literature. The study aimed to empirically examine the relationship between smallholder livestock farming households’ social vulnerability and their resilience to agricultural drought. A survey of 217 smallholder livestock farmers was conducted. The Social Vulnerability Index (SVI), the Agricultural Drought Resilience Index (ADRI), and Pearson’s correlation coefficient were used for data analysis. A correlation was identified between resilience to agricultural drought and social vulnerability, indicating that smallholder livestock farmers are more susceptible to harm and lack the means to rebound effectively. Unsurprisingly, the majority of resource-poor smallholder livestock farmers (79%) lack safety nets during agricultural droughts. They are less resilient and more vulnerable households, leading them to social vulnerability. This study provides input/guidance to identify farming households with high social vulnerability and less resilience to threats and their capabilities of recouping and adopting after experiencing an agricultural drought. Additionally, looking at household resilience and social vulnerability to agricultural droughts could provide a way to pinpoint at-risk areas, assisting emergency planners in directing resources and intervention programs to those areas where assistance is most likely to be needed during disasters such as agricultural droughts. This implies that thorough policy intervention programs need to be tailored toward reducing damage or finding the path to recovery.

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