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Climatic changes in the mid-hills of Nepal: a study on smallholder farmers' perception and reactions
Leonie Kreipe, Eva Wieners, Eva Schlecht

Last modified: 2017-08-17

Abstract


Climate and weather conditions in the mid-hills of Nepal have always been changing and local farmers have continuously adapted to such change. However, in recent decades these changes accelerated. The awareness of increased climate variability constitutes a prerequisite for adequate adaptation measures in cropping systems. Hence, this study examined how farmers perceive climatic changes and whether their perceptions are confirmed by weather station records. Furthermore, farmers' reactions to perceived changes were investigated in order to assess their resilience to ongoing climate change.
To this end, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 60 farmers in a village 15 km northwest of Kathmandu, with half of the interviewees being members of the local agroforestry NGO ‘Kaule Environment Nepal’. It was examined whether the time of residency, education level, income sources and NGO membership influenced the perception of and the reaction to climatic changes.
Farmers were generally well aware of changes in local climate and their perceptions reflected the weather station records. Time series analysis showed a significant increase in mean annual temperatures by up to 0.7 °C per decade. Absolute annual rainfall appeared to be stable, however, the annual distribution of rainfall did change, with increased drought during winter. The majority of farmers (59 %) did not implement targeted measures in response to weather changes; however, some farmers responded by delaying planting or irrigation. Positive spill-over effects from the NGO may increase awareness of climate change within the entire community. In future, income diversification could contribute to a reduced vulnerability of farmers.

 

Keywords: Nepal; smallholder farmers; climatic changes; perception; reaction


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