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Coping Strategies To Reduce The Impact Of Climate Change On Farmers’ Livelihood

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The insufficient institutional and infrastructural supports from local level to the national level are responsible for greater damage in farmers’ livelihood. Farmers are forced to take a wide variety of adaptive and coping mechanism to diminish the magnitude of adverse impact of climate change and manage their livelihood on farming.

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Coping and adaptation strategies may be an effective and efficient resilience for reducing natural hazard triggered threats. Coping strategies may grow into adaptive strategies through a specific time span. Specific changes in production strategies in line with location, soil patterns and climatic conditions are referred as coping strategies. Location-specific, self-directed, short-term process and adjustments in contradiction of a specific exposure and vulnerability are coping strategies which help to lessen the adverse effects of climate. But those strategies have the nature of “risk spreading”. Adaptation in response to climate change refers to the adjustment with changes which are expected and observed before. It is the long-term process which is socially acceptable for comprehensive environmental settings. Salinity and drought tolerance crops, migration to urban areas, crop diversification, irrigation and engaging in off-farm jobs are the leading adaptation measures to climate change followed by the paddy farmers.

Both the regional and international community gives a growing attention to coping and adaptation strategies in response to natural hazards and climate change. A vast of literatures has promoted the most significant and uncertain disputes about farm-level coping strategies. These raise the most challenging problems of the conditions to which farmers may have to cope with, given uncertainty in a specific location. The problems also arise to what extent they perceived climate change as a threat, the level of accuracy of their perception, to recognize socio-economic determinants which influence their level of perception and the short-run strategies to cope with. It is supposed that farmers’ coping strategies depend on their knowledge, information, awareness, acceptance and performance to reduce the adverse effects of climate change and to ensure sustainable living standard. Indigenous strategies differ from county to county, region to region because of different societal traits including cultural practices. Using primary, traditional and consecutive methods, they have been coping with climate variability and change.

But it is important to understand and needed to document on how farmers cope with these changes in the short run and what factors influence them to take decision to do so. There is inter-linkage among vulnerability, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. Coping mechanism is related to how farmers perceived to climate change is depicted into the decision making process in farming. Coping strategies depend on individual responses and availability of alternative technologies and practices at farm-level.

In general, farmers do not follow a single strategy to cope with in time of changes the climate and its variability. They take often various strategies to minimize the negative impacts. They use the differentiated resource base (for instance, changes in crop varieties, fishing and collecting wild food plants) for minimizing the harvesting risk; change techniques and practices; change in the timing of crop harvesting; changes in livelihood in emergent situations (for example, droughts and floods); change of location; and manage natural resource (for managing climate sensitive resources and for reducing food scarcity). But few attempts have negative consequences on productivity of firms and their future livelihood such as- sale of farm land, sale of farm equipment, sales of perennial crops, sale of household assets and misery of migration, inter household transfers and loans, reducing household consumption. Over the time period, farmers are trying to increase their capability to resist and to bounce back their normality through native technologies. In the long-term traditional coping mechanisms show how local people can better arrange and adjust with climate variability and climate change. Farmers change their adopted coping strategies constantly in different circumstances. Gukurume (2013) and Okonya et al. (2013) identified crop diversification and livelihood diversification as the two leading coping mechanism used to lessen the yield failure and livelihood vulnerability in Zimbabwe. Changing harvesting time and crop diversification are the most common coping mechanism used to adjust with climate change by Ghana farmers. Most coping strategies used in Uganda are harvesting early-ripening varieties, drought tolerant varieties, storing food, digging drainage channels and highly crop varieties. Dishani and Silva (2017) identified some major barriers to take coping strategies such as- unavailability of enough land, lack of financial support, labor unavailability, lack of information, insufficient irrigation and their lack of sustainability. On the other hand, Mubiru et al. (2015) claimed that improper post-harvest management during natural hazards is a major barrier in Ugand.

Mary and Majule (2009) argued that usually local coping strategies are not recorded in a proper way. Generally it is gone through local history and practices. Shuaibu et al. (2014) identified that coping mechanisms generally adopted by farmers are based on the availability and use of natural resources. But sustainable uses of those resources are questionable because of changing environmental pattern.

A vast number of reviewed literatures have shown households’ perception and their adaptation strategies to climate change experiencing developing countries like Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Pakistan and also Bangladesh. Some articles have represented the determinants of adaptation measures practiced by farmers. But a few numbers of literatures have found which work on farmers’ coping strategies to climate change based on developing nations. They have only found various types of coping methods practiced by crop farmers. In the bulk of available literatures it is rarely established the determinants that influence farmers’ perception and their coping decision and the factors that create barriers to cope with the changes in Bangladesh, especially in coastal region of Bangladesh. As coping techniques are built up based on local condition and circumstances, the present study seeks to fill this gap by evaluating paddy farmers’ perception to and the extent to which farmers are coping with various impacts of climate change in Satkhira district of Bangladesh. The new dimension of the study may contribute to enlarge the field of research.

15 Jun 2020

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