Heat, cold, and floods: exploring farmers’ motivations to adapt to extreme weather events in the Terai region of Nepal

Nanda Kaji Budhathoki, Douglas Paton, Jonatan Lassa, Gopal Datt Bhatta, Kerstin Zander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Smallholder farmers in Nepal are vulnerable to climate change-related extreme weather events. Adaptation in the agriculture sector is needed to mitigate social, economic, and eco-logical impacts from increasing levels of hazard activity. To examine this issue, a house-hold survey of 350 farmers in the Terai region of Nepal was carried out to assess farm-ers’ risk perceptions towards three common extreme weather events (floods, cold spells, and heat waves) and to explore their intended responses to cope with future impacts. The intended common adaptation strategies include changes in farm management, seeking off-farm employment, emergency management planning, purchasing crop insurance, and the raising of awareness. Threat appraisal is the strongest predictor of the number of intended adaptation strategies adopted in response to slow-onset hazards (heat waves and cold spells), while coping appraisal is the major predictor of the number of intended adaptation strategies adopted to mitigate flood risk, a rapid onset hazard. Crop insurance and off-farm employment are farmers’ most preferred flood adaptation strategies, while crop insurance is the most preferred adaptation strategy for heat waves and cold spells. Other variables such as the number of past implemented strategies, experience with extreme events, com-munity organisation membership, and access to credit and extension services were also significantly associated with farmers’ choices for adaptation strategies in response to the three extreme events. This information can be used to tailor community-centred communi-cation about potential threats from different extreme weather events and government tech-nical and financial support, which will be crucial for farmers to adapt effectively to climate change-related weather extremes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3213-3237
Number of pages25
JournalNatural Hazards
Volume103
Early online date8 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

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