Environmental learning for coping with drought among small scale farmers of Luangwa district,Zambia
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Luangwa District in Zambia’s Lusaka province lies within a marginal area that is prone to both drought and floods in the rainy season (Luangwa District Council, 2007). Despite small scale farmers of Luangwa District employing various drought coping strategies, drought and floods continue to adversely affect them in terms of food security and the general livelihood of the population (Kaminsa, 2008). Although environmental learning for coping with drought among small scale farmers has not been studied or explored, some scholars have explained the role that environmental learning plays in coping with environmental hazards (Goulder, 1999; Holdren, 1990). The aim of the study was to examine environmental learning of coping with drought among small scale farmers of Zambia’s Luangwa District so as to determine its approapriateness. To achieve this aim, the study established drought coping strategies among small scale farmers of Zambia’s Luangwa district. Having done this, an examination of environmental learning related to such drought coping strategies was done. The study was a critical realist case study within a setting of qualitative methodologies. A semi structured interview guide was used on disaster management officers, agriculture supervisor, town planner and extension officer, while a focus group discussion was conducted among the small scale farmers. Observations of farming activities on small holdings were also done. The study established that small scale farmers of Luangwa District mainly employed traditional drought coping strategies. Furthermore, the study findings revealed that environmental learning among small scale farmers was on general farming practices and not specifically on drought coping. Thus the study findings confirmed literature assertion that there was superficial environmental learning among small scale farmers. Finally, the study comes up with a proposed environmental learning programme for drought coping which may potentially be useful in addressing drought coping challenges among the small scale farmers of Luangwa District. Thus a major recommendation is for the Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders to introduce environmental learning for drought coping among small scale farmers.Further, the government of the republic of Zambia needs to allocate more funds to extension service.