The Significance of Farmers' Climate Change and Salinity Perceptions for On-farm Adaptation Strategies in the South-central Coast of Bangladesh

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Climate change contributes to a rise in salinity levels in the coastal regions of Bangladesh, notably impacting agricultural productivity. Therefore, crop-level adaptation strategies against salinity are crucial to increase productivity. In this study, our objective is to explore farm-level adaptation to climate change-induced salinity in the south-central coastal area of Bangladesh, considering the farmers' perception of climate change and salinity ingress as well as their adaptation strategies. Subsequently, we compare our findings with climatic and salinity data acquired from secondary sources. The study area was partitioned into three distinct zones delineated by proximity to the coastline, and primary data was collected from 475 households within these salinity zones using a multistage random sampling technique. Data collection was carried out using semi-structured questionnaires, which had been pretested on the respondents' perceptions for validity and reliability. The results indicate that while farmers possess an awareness of long-term alterations in climatic conditions, such as changes in temperature and precipitation, they often fail to attribute these changes to climate change explicitly. They could perceive changes in salinity over time but had difficulty perceiving cyclonic events. Farmers realize the risks posed by hydroclimatic variability and extreme weather events. Interestingly, while farmers may not be taking explicit measures to address perceived climatic changes, we discern that they are indeed modifying their agricultural and farming practices, such as fertilizer application, land leveling, and freshwater application. Traditional farming systems increase vulnerability and reduce persistence. In pursuit of enhanced resilience, households must implement various adaptation strategies for resilient farming practices. Moreover, our findings indicate that farmers are interested in adopting diverse adaptation strategies that require technical and financial support, particularly for the smallholders. In conclusion, this research provides valuable information for formulating climate change adaptation policies in the context of coastal agriculture in Bangladesh.
Climate change, Salinity, Agricultural productivity, Cropping patters
M.I. Bhuyan, I. Supit, U. Kumar, S. Mia, F. Ludwig, The significance of farmers’ climate change and salinity perceptions for on-farm adaptation strategies in the South-central coast of Bangladesh, Journal of Agriculture and Food Research (2024), doi: j.jafr.2024.101097.