The interplay between changing environmental experiences and preferences implies that as weather patterns continue to evolve and change, the reactions to such changes in farmer’s behavior will not be static. Because the preferences themselves change in response to changing weather patterns, then the reaction to changing weather in terms of planting behavior itself will be different between two periods even if the marginal change in weather is the same at each point. These may complicate the dynamics of technology adaptations and require adjusting incentives and inducements to adapt.
Weather variability, risks, and mitigation strategies have long figured prominently in agriculture; however, climate change creates additional challenges, including extreme heat events, prolonged droughts, and higher than normal precipitation can be attributed to climate change. In addition, rising oceans will certainly cause increasing salinity in coastal areas and estuaries.
Climate change presents a wide range of adaptive challenges for the agricultural sector and suggest a variety of practices that farmers may adopt, including altering inputs such as plant varieties, changing irrigation patterns, changing other water management practices, altering timing and location of cropping, improving effectiveness of practices related to pest and weed management, as well as considering alternative income sources in order to mitigate climate risk.
The risks faced by Bangladesh are not uniform but vary regionally, with salinity and flooding relevant in some areas, drought more significant in others, and temperature variability affecting all. For example, the coastal divisions of Chittagong, Dhaka, and Khulna could lose up to 30% of cultivable land, and that drought and submergence substantially reduce yields in Bangladesh during the Aman and Aus seasons.
In that context, this paper examines two dimensions of farmers responses to changing weather patterns: adoption of stress tolerant varieties and changing shares of rice and non-rice crops in general.
An important starting premise in this paper is a recognition that adaptation to climate change is not simply a question of adopting a specific technology but involves a menu of activities and adoption of new stress-tolerant varieties represents but one possible varietal choice, suggesting that some local varieties represents an alternative risk mitigation strategy.
Consequently, we will consider adoption of technology as not necessarily adoption of a specific technology but to consider stress-tolerant varieties and crop diversity as alternative, and perhaps competing technologies to mitigate the risks of climate change for farmers in Bangladesh.
This paper considers the following key questions:
(1) What factors contribute to the adoption and adoption shares of stress-tolerant rice varieties? and
(2) In the broader context, what explains the overall planting shares of different crops in general?
While we will include multiple correlates with farmer behavior, our central question is to measure the extent to which changing precipitation patterns affect behavior as a
(1) direct measure in our estimation and
(2) indirectly through the impact of changing precipitation on farmer risk and time preferences.
The key findings are that deviations from seasonal averages increase risk aversion among farmers and that increased risk aversion among farmers reduces planting shares of stress-tolerant modern varieties as well as hybrids.
This indirect effect holds across all seasons. The direct effects of precipitation deviations compound the indirect effects for the Aus season but offset the effects of the Boro season.
Precipitation deviations have no direct impact on planting shares of stress-tolerant modern varieties during the Aman season. The contribution of this paper to the conversation on the role of changing weather and climate on farmer behavior and adaptation is its focus on identifying the direct and indirect mechanisms that may affect farmer adaptations.
The significance of the contribution is that it shows that not only do risk and time preferences shape planting and adaptation patterns but that the interplay between changing environmental experiences and preferences implies that as weather patterns continue to evolve and change, the reactions to such changes in farmer’s behavior will not be static.
That is, because the preferences themselves change in response to changing weather patterns, then the reaction to changing weather in terms of planting behavior itself will be different between two periods even if the marginal change in weather is the same at each point in time. These may complicate the dynamics of adaptations and require adjusting incentives and inducements to adapt.
Read the paper:
Wheatley WP, Pede V, Khanam T, and Yamano T. (2021) Climate risk and planting oatterns: An examination of the direct and indirect effects of changing precipitation on the behavior of Bangladeshi farmers. Agricultural & Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting Austin, TX 1-3 August