Farmers' perceptions of climate variability and barriers to adaptation: Lessons learned from an exploratory study in Vietnam

Hoa Le Dang, Elton Li, Johan Bruwer, Ian Nuberg

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    65 Citations (Scopus)


    Southeast Asian countries are confronting climate variability, challenging agricultural sustainability and rural livelihoods. However, little research effort has been devoted to exploring how farmers in those countries perceive climate variability and how the perceptions link to adaptive responses. This paper deploys information from three focus group discussions with 30 male farmers; and six in-depth interviews with one female and five male agricultural officers in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Recorded 34-year meteorological data in the delta from 1978 to 2011 is also incorporated to demonstrate the actual climate variability of the region. We find that farmers are becoming increasingly conscious of local climate variability issues. However, they have limited understanding of the importance of adaptation to their livelihoods. They also have limited knowledge of where and who to contact for appropriate climate change adaptation information. No opinions about the link between global warming and local climate variability and change were observed. Casual observation via public media and personal experience dominated farmers’ sources of information. Barriers to farmers’ adaptation are not exclusively restricted to socio-economic factors and resource constraints; e.g. land tenure, technical knowledge, market, social relationship, credit, information, health care, and demographics. Maladaptation, habit, and the perception of the importance of climate variability and adaptation are found as additional constraints. Observed differences in farmers’ and agricultural officers’ perspectives regarding barriers to farmers’ adaptation suggest important policy implications.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)531-548
    Number of pages18
    JournalMitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
    Issue number5
    Early online dateJan 2013
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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