Rethinking climate change: Perception, adaptation and vulnerability among rice and wheat farmers in northern India

Agarwal, Nimisha (2019) Rethinking climate change: Perception, adaptation and vulnerability among rice and wheat farmers in northern India. Doctoral thesis, NIAS.

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Thesis advisorSinha,
Abstract: Climate change is one of the most complex challenges that we face in current times and it will affect human populations across the world. The impacts of climate change are likely to be rather prominent on agricultural systems and on communities dependent on them. My doctoral thesis addressed the subject of climate change from the perspective of rice- and wheat farmers in Uttar Pradesh in northern India, focussing on different vulnerability zones in the state. I examined how traditional knowledge systems and local strategies have been used by farmers to negotiate climatic change that they have experienced. My observations suggest that the understanding of this global phenomenon is rather different at the local level. The thesis thus engaged with specific issues in the different vulnerability zones studied and examined how different groups of farmers in these regions were impacted by and perceived climate change. Rice- and wheat cultivation form the core of agriculture in India and, if affected adversely by changes in climate, could impact our food security. Accordingly, my thesis has discussed farmer understandings of climate change, the problems that they face and their reasons for pursuing short-term coping strategies. My study further assessed the vulnerability of agriculture to climate change and contributes to the larger comparative project of adaptation strategies that may evolve in response to climate change. Vulnerability assessments have typically adopted a top-down approach, especially when formulating state- and national-level economic or policy decisions. Bottom-up approaches of vulnerability assessment, such as participatory methods, however, reveal disparate resources and the existence of locally appropriate strategies even within the same district. Villages experience disparities, ranging from access to resources to varying socio-economic and environmental conditions. Vulnerability is also not simply restricted to change in climatic conditions – certain populations are more vulnerable than others, on the bases of gender, caste or class, thus making climate change itself an axis of marginalisation. My studies conclude by insisting on the development and adoption of interdisciplinary, culturally sensitive, multi-scalar approaches to further understand the vulnerability of agricultural communities to climate change, strategies adopted to combat it and the barriers to such adaptability in rural northern India.
Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Doctoral Programme > Theses
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2021 17:26
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 17:28
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