Scientific Publication

Farmers coping strategies for climate shock: Is it differentiated by gender?


Several studies have recognized that the agriculture sector is one of the major contributor to climate change, as well as largely affected adversely by climate change. Agricultural productivity is known to be sensitive to climate change induced effects and it has impact on livelihood of families linked with farming. Thus it is important to understand what are the existing coping strategies that farmer deploy in case of climate shocks like flood and drought and who is involved in making decision relating to these coping strategies. This paper uses the household level data of 641 households from 12 randomly selected villages in Vaishali district of Bihar to understand the household coping mechanisms with emphasis on role of gender. This study has moved away from the conventional division of households by male and female-headed households and thus capturing the intra-household gender dynamics by understanding the role of men and women within the household as decision makers of the coping strategy to manage climate shock. The study uses a multivariate probit model and the results suggest that there is a higher probability that the male farmers will make the decision on choice of the coping strategy. The most prominent coping mechanism is to find alternative employment in urban locations; however, when consumption levels have to be reduced because of climate shock, all family members then contribute to the decision-making process collectively. The results show that exposure to agriculture extension and training programs have a positive influence on choosing appropriate coping mechanisms, but female farmers have poor access to these resources. These policies should look into providing outreach to both male and female farmers in any given locality.