Farmer Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change in Strengthening Rice Sufficiency in Sumedang Regency, West Java Province
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Greenhouse gas emission leads to global warming, which is fundamental to the current food security problem. An increase in global temperature of ~4°C or more above late-20th-century level, combined with increasing food demand, would pose large risks to food security globally and regionally. There are growing evidences that even at just 1°C of warming there are negative impacts for major crops like rice and corn. It is also indicated that the rate of global warming in the next decades is projected to be substantially higher than that in the last decades. Smallholder farmers, whose livelihood relies to the greatest extent on agriculture, have been reported worldwide to be one of those most affected by the adverse implication of climate change. Previous studies indicated that smallholder farmers have assumed some adaptation measures in their existing farming practices, which range from adjustment on planting calendar to investment on input and infrastructure. Their existing adaptations, however, have been reported to be inadequate and still leave substantial residual impacts untapped. The study aimed to examine existing farmer adaptive capacity to climate change and explore its future strengthening alternatives to improve the rice sufficiency at household level. Specifically, the objectives of the research were:(1) To verify the change of climatic condition in the study area and estimate its impact on rice yield under various types of existing farming practices, (2) To assess the effect of current and future climatic condition on farmers’ household rice sufficiency under the existing adaptation practices, (3) To assess farmers’ household vulnerability to the impact of current and future climatic condition on their household rice sufficiency, and (4) To identify the factors determining farmers’ existing adaptation practices. The assessment of current climate indicated an increasing trend in the annual average of minimum and maximum temperature (TMin and TMax) during 1981 – 2010, while the annual rainfall showed a decreasing trend during the same period. Furthermore, climate projection for near (2011 – 2040) and far-future (2041 – 2070) period generated by the 17 General Circulation Models (GCMs) under climate change scenario of Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP)4.5 also indicated that average annual rainfall has been projected to decrease by 6.81% and 7.34%, respectively. Meanwhile, the TMin and TMax were projected to increase by 0.65oC and 0.69oC for near-future, and then further increased by 1.23oC and 1.28oC for far-future, respectively. Similar changes in climatic condition were indicated to slightly higher extent under RCP8.5 for near- and far-future periods. The assessment of rice yield under current climate suggested that during 1990 – 2010, rice yield in the study area has been fluctuating. Furthermore, the simulated rice yield generated by CROPWAT indicated that a reduction in rice yield was projected to occur in the near- and far-future. Rice yield has been projected to decrease by 32.00% and 31.81%, in comparison to baseline, for nearfuture under RCP8.5 and RCP4.5, respectively. The reduction extended, with a slightly higher degree, to the far-future. The reduction was sensitive to variation in vii the existing farming practices. The shifting of planting time to better match rainfall pattern reduced the rice yield reduction by 12.95% for rainfed farming and 14.07% for the irrigated. Meanwhile, improved irrigation scheduling reduced the yield reduction by 16.16%. The assessment of household rice sufficiency under current climate indicated that the average Household Rice Sufficiency Level (HRSL) of the sample households fell below 90%, with an average of 62.89% ± 8.93%, suggesting a condition of household-level rice insufficiency has been occurring in the study area. Analysis of the adequacy of existing adaptations suggested that though they have managed to generate higher HRSL for the adapted households, the existing adaptations have yet to be adequate to ensure rice-sufficient status for the farmers. The average HRSL of the on-farm and off-farm adapted households were 64.98% and 66.27%, respectively, still far below the threshold for rice-sufficient status. Even under the empirically identified existing best adaptation practices, i.e. the combined on- and off-farm adaptation, the average HRSL of the adapted households were still below the threshold (67.59%). The farmers’ limited ownership of land, only 0.03 – 0.06 ha on average, was identified as the underlying factor for the occurrence of rice insufficiency in the study area. The result of the study suggested that the adapted households were more resilient to the impact of future climate, as indicated by their more stable HRSL to the near- and far-future, relative to the baseline than that of the non-adapted. Furthermore, though it has generated lower HRSL under current and future climate, on-farm adaptation maintained the HRSL relatively more stable to the near- and far-future than the off-farm adaptation did. This finding signified the complementary nature between the on-farm and off-farm adaptations. The assessment of household vulnerability indicated that rice-sufficient households have lower Household Vulnerability Index (HVI) (0.39) than the insufficient (0.46) and severely-insufficient (0.54). The finding suggested that the impact of climate change on rice sufficiency of a particular farmer was not determined exclusively by the magnitude of climate-induced yield reduction of his rice farm plot, but also by his household vulnerability level. The study also suggested that adapted households typically have smaller Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)-HVI than the non-adapted did. The IPCC-HVI of the on-farm adapted was recorded at -0.11, lower than either the non-adapted (+0.11) or the off-farm adapted (-0.03). The combination of the on- and off-farm adaptation linked to the lowest IPCC-HVI, which was recorded at -0.12. This finding suggested that less vulnerable farmers were more likely to adopt better adaptation practices. Analysis of factors that underlie the farmers’ existing adaptations indicated that among the 12 factors tested, there were 6 factors that showed significant influence on households’ decision for not adopting the empirically identified current best adaptation practice observed in the study area, i.e. the combined onand off-farm adaptations. The result suggested that smallholder farmers who have been lower educated-, older age-, and female-headed; having no-access to credit; having smaller farm size; and having farm plot with shorter distance to water reservoir tended to adopt types of existing adaptation practices other than the combined on- and off-farm adaptation.