Behavioral Responses to Climate Information: A Case of Small Scale Rice Farmers in Vulnerable Communities in Leyte, Philippines


Author(s): Rotacio S. Gravoso1, Remberto A. Patindol2 and Canesio D. Predo3

Abstract

As in many developing countries, the advent of extreme climatic events, including El Niño and La Niña phenomena has exposed the livelihoods of small scale Filipino farmers to climate vulnerabilities. Recent developments in climate prediction suggest that seasonal climate forecasts (SCF) have potentials for alleviating the vulnerability of farmers’ livelihoods. In the Philippines, however, farmers’ uptake of SCF is low. This study pilot-tested SCF dissemination and examined if small rice farmers from communities vulnerable to flooding and drought would use the information in their farming and management decisions. Farmers then participated in a seminar on the basic concepts of climate and were advised of the climate forecast for the July 2012 cropping season. Focus group discussions were conducted four months after, that is, during the harvest season. Respondents assessed the SCF as “accurate” but in making farm decisions, they relied on their experiences on the onset and amount of rain. For some farmers, the shortage of rainfall in the middle of the cropping season led to crop failure. Thus, they resorted to growing other crops. Results of this study highlighted the need to inform farmers of the onset, amount, and duration and distribution of rainfall for the incoming cropping season. Overall results indicate the need for the meteorological agency to improve the skill and to down-scale (localize) the climate forecast.

Keywords : Climate change risk, climate change adaptation, seasonal climate forecast, forecast skill

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