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Climate Change: Perceptions, Reality and Agricultural Practice: Evidence from Nepal

N and a Kaji Budhathoki

No 121, Working papers from The South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics

Abstract: The study investigates whether the farmers' perception of changes in climate have led toany changes in their farming practices over the last three decades. The study surveyed 496farmers living near 10 meteorological stations in Nepal for their understanding of climatechange between 1980 and 2014 and adaptation strategies in terms of farming practices inresponse to perceived change. The results show that nearly all farmers attributed changesin crops grown, in crop varieties, and other farming practices to technological, market,and other factors rather than climate change. A comparison of farmer perceptions andmeteorological data showed that farmers' perceptions of changes in minimum temperatureand rainfall over the period did not match actual trends in this period in the stations nearwhere they lived. However, their perception of changes in maximum temperature did matchthe observed trends at the stations quite well, possibly because the trends in this variablewere clearer than those for the minimum rates. The results of the study demonstrate that theclimate change signal in Nepal during the 1980-2014 period has not been clear and strongenough to have a consistent impact on farmers' perceptions or, even more so, on theiragricultural practices. The study found no evidence that adaptation to climate change hasoccurred. This suggests that for farmers to effectively adapt to future climate change, bettercommunication of expected changes in climate from responsible state and non-state actorsmay be necessary.

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