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Weather-induced economic damage to upland crops and the impact on farmer household income in Northeast Thailand

Yoshida, Koshi, Srisutham, Mallika, Sritumboon, Supranee, Suanburi, Desell, Janjirauttikul, Naruekamon
Paddy and water environment 2019 v.17 no.3 pp. 341-349
agricultural land, cassava, climate change, crop yield, drought, exports, farm income, farmers, farming systems, highlands, household income, household surveys, irrigation, livelihood, rain, rural areas, sugarcane, Thailand
In Thailand, climate change has a direct effect on the export of food and agricultural products, which is one of the main revenue sources of the country. Furthermore, agriculture is the main income basis of local farmers; especially, in Northeast Thailand, the ratio of irrigated agricultural land was only 7.6%, and others were rainfed so that climate change makes agricultural production increasingly unstable and inflicts serious damages on the societies and economies of rural areas. In this study, we focused on weather-induced economic damages of upland crops, such as sugarcane and cassava. Firstly, we evaluated the effect of the seasonal rainfall amount and pattern on upland crop yields through correlation analysis using meteorological and agricultural statistical data. The sugarcane yield had a significant positive relationship with 4 months of accumulated rainfall. The cassava yield had a significant negative relationship with 5 months of accumulated rainfall. Secondly, a household survey was conducted to grasp the farmers’ conditions of water use, cultivation, income balance, etc. The average household income was 341,160 Baht/year, 122,433 Baht/year derived from agriculture and 218,727 Baht/year from non-agricultural work. The variation in farmers’ income in each province by crop changing was evaluated using interview results. For farmers’ livelihood, a monoculture system should be avoided because of the system’s normally high risk and its vulnerability. As a result of analysis, mixed farming of sugarcane and cassava is recommended to stabilize farming incomes both in flood and in drought years.