Climate risks and adaptation strategies of farmers in East Africa and South Asia
Understanding major climate risks, adaptation strategies, and factors influencing the choice of those strategies is crucial to reduce farmers’ vulnerability. Employing comprehensive data from 2822 farm households in Ethiopia and Kenya (East Africa; EA) and 1902 farm households in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal (South Asia; SA), this study investigates the main climate risks that farmers faced and the adaptation strategies they used. Among others, excessive rainfall and heightened crop pest/disease incidence are commonly observed climate-induced risks in all study areas, while cyclones and salinity are unique to Bangladesh. Drought is prevalent in Ethiopia, India, Kenya, and Nepal. Farmers in those countries responded with strategies that include change in farming practices, sustainable land management, reduce consumption, sell assets, use savings and borrowings, seek alternative employment and assistance from government or NGO. In general, farmers faced several multiple climate risks simultaneously and they responded with multiple adaptation strategies. Therefore, this study used a multivariate probit (MVP) approach to examine the factors influencing the adoption of adaptation strategies. Unlike other studies, we also tested and corrected for possible endogeneity in model estimation. All the countries mentioned have low adaptive capacity to address climate change, which is further weakened by inadequate governance and inefficient institutions. We observed significant differences in the choice of adaptation strategies between male-headed households (MHHs) and female-headed households (FHHs), as well as across countries. Generally, MHHs are more likely to seek additional employment and change agricultural practices, while FHHs and households headed by older persons tend to reduce consumption and rely on savings and borrowings. Institutional support for adaptation is much less in EA compared to SA. Training on alternative farming practices, enhancing non-farm employment options, better institutional support, and social security for older farmers are crucial for climate change adaptation in both regions.