Farmer-level adaptation to climate change and agricultural drought: empirical evidences from the Barind region of Bangladesh

Abstract

The north-western part of Bangladesh especially the Barind region is considered as a drought-prone area. The objective of this paper is to find out the adaptation measures practised by farmers to cope with climate change and agricultural drought in two drought-prone villages of the north-western Bangladesh. The primary data for this study were collected from a structured questionnaire survey conducted on 130 households selected from 192 through simple random sampling. The present study finds that agriculture of this area is recurrently disrupted by frequent drought events. Moreover, the climate change will increase both frequency and magnitude of extreme drought events in this region. This paper identifies that the impacts of drought on agriculture are difficulties in irrigation, disruption in cropping pattern, depletion of ground water table, problem in fish cultivation and so on. On the other hand, analyses unveil that respondents practised a range of adjustment strategies to combat adverse impacts of drought such as adoptions of drought-tolerant crop varieties, rainwater harvesting, mango and jujube intercropping with rice, kitchen gardening, weed control and reducing water loss, constructing water control structures, irrigation and cultivation of fast-growing fish species. Therefore, the present study recommends proper drought early warning system, reserving surface water, managing supplemental irrigation, tree plantation, re-excavation of canals and traditional ponds, credit support to the farmers, preparedness and awareness rising to ensure the future sustainable agricultural development in the study areas.

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(Source: BARC 2000)

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Pre-kharif starts from the last week of March and ends in May, Kharif starts from May and ends in October, and Rabi begins at the end of the humid period when the south-east monsoon starts ceasing in November and extends up to the end of March (Banglapedia 2007).

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to the anonymous peer reviewers and the editor for their valuable comments on earlier versions of this paper. Authors are also in debt to the villagers of the study area for providing essential information during the field survey.

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Correspondence to Md. Nazir Hossain.

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Hossain, M.N., Chowdhury, S. & Paul, S.K. Farmer-level adaptation to climate change and agricultural drought: empirical evidences from the Barind region of Bangladesh. Nat Hazards 83, 1007–1026 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-016-2360-7

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Agricultural drought
  • Adaptation
  • Cropping pattern
  • The Barind tract
  • Bangladesh