Coping with weather adversity and adaptation to climatic variability: a cross-country study of smallholder farmers in South Asia

Concerns over climate change and climatic variability are growing in South Asia because of the potential detrimental impacts of these phenomena on livelihoods. Such growing concerns demonstrate a need to assess how farmers simultaneously cope with extreme events and adapt to climatic variability. Based on household surveys of 2660 farm families conducted in Nepal's Terai, coastal Bangladesh, and the Indian state of Bihar, this paper seeks to (1) explore farmers’ coping strategies under adverse weather events; (2) identify key adaptation measures used by farmers; and (3) explore the policy interventions required to adjust agriculture to climatic variability. The study reveals that migration is the most important coping strategy of the households in Bihar and coastal Bangladesh, while reliance on credit markets is the most important in Terai.

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