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Farmer Perceptions of Climate Change, Observed Trends and Adaptation of Agriculture in Pakistan

Abid, Muhammad, Scheffran, Jürgen, Schneider, Uwe A., Elahi, Ehsan
Environmental management 2019 v.63 no.1 pp. 110-123
agroecological zones, climate, climate change, cultivars, education, farmers, farmers' attitudes, farms, land ownership, land tenure, marketing, models, planting date, rain, risk perception, shade trees, soil conservation, temperature, weather forecasting, Pakistan
Farmers’ willingness and ability to adapt agricultural systems depend on their knowledge about changes in climate and perceived risks of extreme events. Using cross-sectional data of 450 farmers collected from three agro-ecological zones of Punjab, Pakistan, this study investigates farmer perceptions of climate change and their agreement with observed climatic trends. In addition, this study explores the correlation between different adaptation stages (perceptions, intentions, and adaptation) and their key drivers using a Multivariate Probit Model. This study also explores the adaptation measures adopted by farmers. The results of the study show that the perceptions of increasing mean temperature match well with locally recorded data. However, a discrepancy is found in some cases between farmer perceptions of rainfall changes and local climate records. Moreover, education, experience, land tenure, land holdings, extension, cooperation, access to weather forecasting, and marketing information are the factors influencing the three adaptation stages. A strong association is found among the three adaptation stages. Particularly, the study confirms the hypothesis that accurate perceptions lead to stronger adaptation intentions compared to underestimated or no perceptions. Further, farmers prefer basic adaptation measures including changing crop varieties, input use and planting dates over advanced measures, such as planting shade trees, soil conservation, and crop diversification. The study recommends providing farmers, especially small landholders and tenants, easy access to information, institutional services and training on the use of advanced measures to reduce negative impacts of climate change at the farm level.