OOS 7-2
Adoption of climate change practices among developing world farmers

Monday, August 10, 2015: 1:50 PM
328, Baltimore Convention Center
Meredith T. Niles, Sustainability Science Program, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Smallholder farmers in the developing world face enormous daily challenges with regards to food security, livelihoods, and health.  Many smallholder farmers are risk averse and plan for short-term impacts and changes.  Climate change and its potential impacts are slated to affect developing world farmers particularly acutely given that many of these farmers live in tropical regions expected to continue to warm and will face growing threats from extreme events.  Such impacts may inherently compromise the capacity of farmers to continue to grow food and keep animals, and threatens to undermine regional food security in the developing world.  As a result, it is crucial that strategies are implemented that can assist farmers in adapting to potential changes and encouraging resilience within their farming systems.

This presentation examines these issues in the context of developing world farmers across 15 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  Data were obtained from the household level farmer surveys conducted across 5,454 households by the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research’s Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security program administered between 2010-2012.  Household survey data was aggregated and analyzed using factor analyses, scale creation and multi-level modelling to determine links between climate shocks, assistance following a shock within an area, food security status, and adoption of practices for resilience and capacity building.  Data were examined at multiple levels from village to country to region scales.


Data analysis suggests that on the whole a majority (over 70%) of farmers within these regions had faced a climate shock within the last 5 years (with variation across regions ranging from 44% in Latin America to 77% in East Africa).  Despite this, far fewer farmers on average (31%) received assistance following a climate shock (with variation across regions ranging from 2% in Latin America to 37% in East Africa).  Furthermore, farmers who had faced a climate shock were significantly more likely (p <0.005) to be food insecure throughout the year across all regions except Latin America.  The presentation will discuss the relationships between different types of assistance following a climate shock and its potential impacts as well as the ways in which climate shocks influence the capacity of farmers to implement adaptive strategies.