Factors influencing on farmers’ adaptive capacities to climate change (wheat farmers in Sarpole Zahab township, Kermanshah province)

Document Type : Research Paper



Climate change is the most threatening and challenging phenomenon man has ever faced at present and in the future (Karzi et al., 2001). During 1979, the United Nations recognized that climate change is inevitable and that nations around the globe need to propose mitigation plans if they are to survive the impacts of climate change. Moreover, global and national conferences on climate change were organized in order to adapt to the devastating effects of climate change. These scientific gatherings aimed at reducing the greenhouse effects and to build resiliency among affected population. Arid and semi-arid regions such as Iran suffer from climate change impacts due to their sensitivity and higher vulnerability (Fisher et al., 1994). This in turn affects agricultural systems in vulnerable regions such as Iran. Kermanshah Province is located in western part of Iran. The province has faced severe drought due to climate change. Moreover, reduced precipitation as well as scattered showers during 1391 was the signs of climate change in the province. In addition, severe hail in 1389 brought significant damage to farmers across the province. Sarpolezahab is located on the west of Kermanshah province. This township has been vulnerable towards drought due to severe climate change impact. This township was selected for this study because studies showed that Sarpolezahab is the most vulnerable township across Kermanshah province (Sharafi, 1389). In addition, no studies as the researchers are aware have been conducted to determine predictive factors influencing the adaptive capacities of wheat farmers facing climate change in general and drought in particular. Knowledge of predictive factors affecting adaptive capacities of farmers can be used as risk management tool in climate change mitigation plans in the affected area. For example, development practitioners can use this information for climate change preparedness strategies as well as planning for Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA). The Climate Smart Agriculture seek to build resilient farmers during the adverse effect of climate change. Therefore, this study sought to investigate the factors influencing the adaptive capacities of wheat farmers towards climate change in Sarpolezahab township.

This descriptive corelational survey study used wheat farmers as unit of analysis. The population comprised of 6402 wheat farmers across 5 villages. Namely: Ghaleshahin, Hoome, Beshive-patagh, Dashtezahab, Poshtang. Due to extensiveness of study area, stratified cluster sampling was used in this study. Kerjcie and Morgan table of sample size (1970) was used to estimate the number of wheat farmers required for this study. From all five clusters of villages, three villages were selected: Ghaleshahin, Beshive-patagh, and Dashtezahab. A total of 370 wheat farmers participated in this study. A researcher made questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data through closed ended interview. A validity and reliability test was performed to enhance the trustworthiness of the research instrument. The content validity was performed by faculties in department of agricultural extension and rural development as well as Ph. D students and experts in the field of climate change. The research instrument was reviewed and appropriate adjustments were made as recommended by panel of experts mentioned above. The reliability test was performed using Cronbach's alpha coefficient. A coefficient of 0.88 was estimated indicating that the research instrument is reliable. Collected data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics such as correlational, mean comparison, and linear regression.

Results and Discussion
Results revealed that drought is the primary cause of climate change impact in Sarpolezahab region. After drought, dust and severe wind were the main impacts of climate change. Moreover, the majority of farmers (90%) believed that during the past twenty years they have experienced a severe increase in temperature. Interestingly, farmers also believed that during the past twenty years, precipitation has decreased in the region. The result of inferential statistics showed that factors such as educational level, skills, membership in social institutions, experience, participation in extension classes, using weather forecast, wheat production, using mechanized agriculture, income, and credit predicted adaptive capacities of wheat farmers faced with climate change. The result of this study has theoretical and practical implications for rural development practitioners in Kermanshah province in general and Sarpolezahab township in particular. For example, climate change practitioners can use the predictors of adaptive capacities to plan for mitigation programs. Mitigation strategies would aid practitioners to select risk management approach rather than crisis management. Risk management strategies are the most effective approach when dealing with adverse effect of climate change. Understanding factors influencing adaptive capacities can help build up resiliency among wheat farmers. Moreover, resilient farmers in turn develop climate smart agriculture in the region.


Main Subjects

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