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Farm-level Adaptation to Climate Change in Western Bangladesh: An Analysis of Adaptation Dynamics, Profitability and Risks

Md. Jahangir Kabir, Mohammad Alauddin and Steven Crimp
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Md. Jahangir Kabir: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland
Steven Crimp: CSIRO, Agriculture

No 576, Discussion Papers Series from University of Queensland, School of Economics

Abstract: Using long-term district-level climate data and a case study from a drought-prone village in western Bangladesh, this research explores trends in climate change, and analyses farmers’ adaptation dynamics, profitability and risks. This is the first study of its kind for drought-prone areas in Bangladesh. District-level temperature trended upwards across all seasons except in winter, while rainfall patterns were more episodic with persistent dry periods. Farmers’ adaptation measures included changes in cropping systems, cropping calendar, crop varieties, agronomic practices, crop diversification and improved animal husbandry. Reducing environmental stress, ensuring self-sufficiency in staple crops (mainly rice) and other crop production practices, and enhancing economic viability of farm enterprises underpinned these adaptations. Off-farm and non-farm wage employment, temporary migration, self-employment and educating children, constituted core non-farm adaptation strategies. Emerging cropping systems like maize/cucumber and maize/stem amaranth/rice were economically more viable than the traditional rice/rice and rice/maize systems. Despite some uncertainties, farming was preferred to off-farm work, generating higher returns to labour for all cropping systems. Limited access to stress-tolerant varieties, extension services and affordable agricultural credit, combined with high production costs, variability in crop yields and output prices constituted man barriers to adaptation. Stronger agricultural research and support services, affordable credit, community-focussed farming education and training are critically important for effective adaptation to climate change.

Keywords: Climate change; Drought severity; Farm budgeting; Risk analysis; Adaptation dynamics; Sustainability (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O1 Q0 Q2 Q12 Q25 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-dev and nep-env
Date: 2016-12-28
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