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The study explores the impacts of Nepali farmers’ climate change perceptions on their farming practices over the last three decades (1980–2014). Results from a survey with 496 farmers show that nearly all farmers attributed changes in crop varieties and cropping patterns mainly to technological and market-related factors and not to climate change. A comparison between perceptions and meteorological data shows that while perceptions of changes in maximum temperatures did match observed trends, perceptions of changes in minimum temperature and rainfall did not. The results indicate that the climate change message in the past 30 years has not been definite enough to have a consistent impact on either farmers’ perceptions or their farming practices. This may impede farmers’ adaptive capacity in dealing with increasingly severe future climate change impacts. Because of large variations in the micro-climate of the study locations and the locations of the weather stations from which we obtained the meteorological data, the results need to be treated with caution. However, we suggest that for farmers to effectively adapt to climate change, it may be necessary for responsible state and non-state actors to improve their communication on expected climate change impacts.
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