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Diversification and intensification of agricultural adaptation from global to local scales

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  • Minjie Chen
  • Bruno Wichmann
  • Marty Luckert
  • Leigh Winowiecki
  • Wiebke Förch
  • Peter Läderach

Abstract

Smallholder farming systems are vulnerable to a number of challenges, including continued population growth, urbanization, income disparities, land degradation, decreasing farm size and productivity, all of which are compounded by uncertainty of climatic patterns. Understanding determinants of smallholder farming practices is critical for designing and implementing successful interventions, including climate change adaptation programs. We examine two dimensions wherein smallholder farmers may adapt agricultural practices; through intensification (i.e., adopt more practices) or diversification (i.e. adopt different practices). We use data on 5314 randomly sampled households located in 38 sites in 15 countries across four regions (East and West Africa, South Asia, and Central America). We estimate empirical models designed to assess determinants of both intensification and diversification of adaptation activities at global scales. Aspects of adaptive capacity that are found to increase intensification of adaptation globally include variables associated with access to information and human capital, financial considerations, assets, household infrastructure and experience. In contrast, there are few global drivers of adaptive diversification, with a notable exception being access to weather information, which also increases adaptive intensification. Investigating reasons for adaptation indicate that conditions present in underdeveloped markets provide the primary impetus for adaptation, even in the context of climate change. We also compare determinants across spatial scales, which reveals a variety of local avenues through which policy interventions can relax economic constraints and boost agricultural adaptation for both intensification and diversification. For example, access to weather information does not affect intensification adaptation in Africa, but is significant at several sites in Bangladesh and India. Moreover, this information leads to diversification of adaptive activities on some sites in South Asia and Central America, but increases specialization in West and East Africa.

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  • Minjie Chen & Bruno Wichmann & Marty Luckert & Leigh Winowiecki & Wiebke Förch & Peter Läderach, 2018. "Diversification and intensification of agricultural adaptation from global to local scales," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(5), pages 1-27, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:plo:pone00:0196392
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196392
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lim, Krisha & Wichmann, Bruno & Luckert, Martin, 2021. "Adaptation, spatial effects, and targeting: Evidence from Africa and Asia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 139(C).
    2. Krisha Lim & Bruno Wichmann & Martin K. Luckert & Peter Läderach, 2020. "Impacts of smallholder agricultural adaptation on food security: evidence from Africa, Asia, and Central America," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 12(1), pages 21-35, February.
    3. Shahbaz Mushtaq & Jarrod Kath & Roger Stone & Ross Henry & Peter Läderach & Kathryn Reardon-Smith & David Cobon & Torben Marcussen & Neil Cliffe & Paul Kristiansen & Frederik Pischke, 2020. "Creating positive synergies between risk management and transfer to accelerate food system climate resilience," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 161(3), pages 465-478, August.
    4. Ana Maria Loboguerrero & Bruce M. Campbell & Peter J. M. Cooper & James W. Hansen & Todd Rosenstock & Eva Wollenberg, 2019. "Food and Earth Systems: Priorities for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation for Agriculture and Food Systems," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(5), pages 1-26, March.
    5. Regina Neudert & Naiba Allahverdiyeva & Niyaz Mammadov & Alexandre Didebulidze & Volker Beckmann, 2020. "Diversification of Livestock-Keeping Smallholders in Mountainous Rural Regions of Azerbaijan and Georgia," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(8), pages 1-25, August.
    6. Mulwa, Chalmers K. & Visser, Martine, 2020. "Farm diversification as an adaptation strategy to climatic shocks and implications for food security in northern Namibia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    7. Ephias Mugari & Hillary Masundire & Maitseo Bolaane, 2020. "Adapting to Climate Change in Semi-Arid Rural Areas: A Case of the Limpopo Basin Part of Botswana," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(20), pages 1-34, October.

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