Understanding climate change impacts on water buffalo production through farmers’ perceptions

Jacquelyn Escarcha, Jonatan Lassa, Eric P. Palacpac, Kerstin Zander

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Climate variability and change will increasingly harm crop and livestock systems worldwide. Evidence of climate change impacts are largely documented for crops with much less information for livestock. In this study we assessed smallholders’ risk perceptions of climate change impacts on water buffalo production systems in Nueva Ecija, Philippines. Results from a household survey with 310 water buffalo farmers revealed that they are highly aware of climate change to which they ascribed to an increasing frequency of extreme events such as extreme rainfall, floods, typhoons and extreme heat. Perceptions of climate change risks strongly depended on the level of exposure and vulnerability to these extreme events. Feed availability and animal health were identified as the production aspects most severely affected by the multiple weather extremes, posing productivity risks and compelling farmers to adapt. Adaptation measures in the study area have been spontaneous and based on economic drivers rather than planned. These measures included biophysical and farm operational adjustments such as relocation of animals, adjusting forage planting times, use of crop residues, and shifting from rice cropping to buffalo dairying after recurring rice harvest failures. We suggest that there is a need for development of specific and longer-term adaptation measures that are planned to fit the water buffalo sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-63
Number of pages14
JournalClimate Risk Management
Early online date28 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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