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Farmers’ vulnerability to climate shocks: insights from the Niger basin of Benin

Lokonon, Boris Odilon Kounagbè
Climate and development 2019 v.11 no.7 pp. 585-596
basins, climate, data collection, drought, econometrics, farmers, farms, floods, heat, household surveys, households, least squares, livelihood, rain, risk assessment, social capital, wind speed, Benin, Niger
This paper investigates the vulnerability of farm-based livelihood systems to climate shocks in the Niger basin of Benin using a household survey dataset relative to the 2012–2013 agricultural year. The integrated approach is used to assess the vulnerability to climate shocks as function of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity, and the indices are used as a dependent variable in an Ordinary Least Squares regression. The results reveal that 57.43% of the farm households are vulnerable to climate shocks (31.74% are very vulnerable). The findings highlight that the lowest adaptive capacity does not necessarily coincide with highest exposure and sensitivity to result in the highest vulnerability. Social capital is very important in building the resilience of farm-based livelihood systems. Vulnerability of farm-based livelihoods depends on the nature of climate shocks. Indeed, the econometric estimations show that vulnerability levels increase differently with respect to the type of shock; the increase is 0.87, 0.77, 1.27, and 1.28 for droughts, strong winds, heat waves, and erratic rainfall, respectively. Floods appear to be beneficial to the farm households as they negatively influence vulnerability to climate shocks. The simulations suggest that vulnerability to climate shocks will increase in the absence of adaptation.