Exploring climate change perceptions, rainfall trends and perceived barriers to adaptation in a drought affected region in India uri icon

abstract

  • Climate change poses major challenges to agricultural systems in drought prone regions of the world especially in the areas with high poverty, lack of irrigation facilities and low productivity. Towards this it is essential to understand the climate change perceptions, adaptation practices and barriers to effective adaptation at household and community level. This paper using household surveys and focus group discussions in one of the drought prone areas of Odisha in India, explores various aspects of perception on climate change and barriers to adaptation. It also analyses the accuracy of perceptions based on rainfall data from nearest meteorological stations. The study reinforces the argument by earlier studies that the perception by people simply cannot be wrong because they may have a just a low correlation with underlying meteorological data. Results suggest that farmers increasingly perceive the changes in the rainfall and temperature patterns. However, when compared with the trend in actual rainfall data, perceptions on rainfall are found to more closely align with the results from the nearest station as compared to the station farther from it. Analysis revealed that seasonal rainfall variability has a profound influence on the farmers' perceptions on climate change and drought in the study region. Farmers' are still dependent on the traditional forecasting system because of the lack of access to modern climate forecasting and tailored information for agricultural practice. Although farmers in the study region are already adapting to the changing climate, the study finds that while lack of access to water and irrigation, information on climate change adaptation and early warning systems are major barriers to adaptation at the household level lack of government intervention, lack of knowledge on drought resistant crops and varieties and lack of renovation of water bodies and irrigation were mentioned as the major barriers at the community level. Findings from the paper argue for better adaptation planning at the local level incorporating local level perceptions and barriers to adaptation. In such areas local level planning can be crucial in enhancing the adaptive capacity of the farmers.

publication date

  • 2016
  • 2016