Comparative assessment of farmers’ perceptions on climate change: Experiences from semi-arid tropics of India

Singh|, Naveen P; C, Ranjith P; Anand, Bhawna ; Kavitha, K

Abstract

The present study was conducted to assess farmers' perceptions of the effects of climate change on their livelihoods. The aim was to compare these perceptions regarding climate trends, related effects, and adaptation options among rural communities in three Semi-Arid Tropical (SAT) villages located in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, representing different agro-ecological regions. This study employed both quantitative and qualitative research methods to elicit farmers' perceptions, including farm household surveys, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews. The results of the study indicate that farm households are aware of climate change and are particularly concerned about changes in rainfall patterns and increased frequency of drought events, both in inter-seasonal and intra-seasonal distribution. Among the studied villages, Dokur experienced the most severe impacts from these changes. Furthermore, farmers perceive that natural resources such as land, water, and biodiversity have been affected due to the variations in the climate. In response to these challenges, farmers have adopted a set of adaptation options, including changes in crop selection, land management, water usage, socio-economic strategies, and collective actions. However, the study found discouraging trends in the adoption of these adaptation options, primarily due to a range of barriers that hinder their ability to adapt efficiently to climate change. This study underscores the critical need for region-specific strategic research and development programs aimed at enhancing the biophysical and socioeconomic conditions of these rural areas. Such efforts would enable these communities to improve their adaptive capacity and livelihood resilience in the face of climate-related risks and impacts. Future policies and programs should prioritize the upliftment of these fragile SAT communities, with the goal of enhancing their resilience to climate change and improving their overall quality of life.

 


Keyword(s)

Climate change and variability (CCV), Semi-arid tropics, Rain-fed farming, Farmer’s perception, Adaptation, Vulnerability


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