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Adapting to rising temperatures: farm practices and policy options in Uganda

FAO Agricultural Development Economics Policy Brief 34











The findings in this brief have been adapted from the FAO Agricultural Development Economics Working Paper 21-02 Adapting to high temperatures: evidence on the impacts of sustainable agricultural practices in Uganda



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    Adapting to high temperatures: evidence on the impacts of sustainable agricultural practices in Uganda 2021
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    Rising temperatures due to climate change pose a significant threat to agricultural systems and the livelihoods of farmers across the globe. Identifying farm management strategies that reduce sensitivity to high temperatures is, therefore, critical for moderating the adverse effects of climate change. In this paper, we use spatially granular climate data merged with four waves of household survey data in Uganda to examine empirically the relationships between high temperatures, agricultural production outcomes, and the adoption (including its duration) of three sustainable agricultural practices (organic fertilizer adoption, banana-coffee intercropping and cereal-legume intercropping). We do this using a fixed-effect model, with instrumental variables to address potential endogeneity issues. Our findings indicate that, while exposure to high temperature does reduce farmers’ crop income, the adoption of these practices can offset the negative impact of high temperatures on such income. Indeed, we show that the benefits of adopting these practices on the total value of crop production increases monotonically astemperatures increase from their long-term averages. Moreover, the number of years a farmer adopts a practice is associated with higher total value of crop production, and this relationship holds across the full distribution of observed high temperature deviations. Taken together, the results suggest that organic fertilizer adoption, banana-coffee intercropping and cereal-legume intercropping are effective options to adapt to rising temperatures in Uganda, and these benefits increase with the duration of adoption. Adaptation policies and programmes must therefore be designed in ways that help farmers overcome initial barriers to adoption of these practices, as well as to support farmers to sustain adoption over time. This may require longer term funding horizons for adaptation programmes, and innovative support mechanisms to incentivize sustained adoption.
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    Food security and adaptation impacts of potential climate smart agricultural practices in Zambia 2015
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    This paper analyzes how a set of widely promoted agricultural practices, including reduced tillage, crop rotations, legume intercropping as well as the use of modern inputs, affect crop yields and their resilience (i.e. probability of disastrously low yields) in Zambia using panel data from the Rural Incomes and Livelihoods Surveys (RILS). The RILS data are merged with a novel set of climatic variables based on geo-referenced historical rainfall and temperature data to understand whether and how the effects of the practices analyzed here change with climatic conditions. We estimate the impacts on the level of maize yields and the probability of very low yields controlling for time-invariant unobservable household characteristics. We find no significant impact of minimum soil disturbance, positive impact of legume intercropping and a negative impact of crop rotation on maize yields, which is off-set by a significantly positive impact under highly variable rainfall conditions. We also fi nd that the average positive impacts of modern input use are conditioned by climatic variables, whereas that of legume intercropping is robust to shocks. Timely access to fertilizer is the most robust determinant of yields and resilience. This paper provides important insights into the interplay between food security outcomes and climatic variables, and provides policy implications for targeted interventions to improve the productivity and the resilience of smallholder agriculture in Zambia in t he face of climate change.
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    Food security and adaptation impacts of potential climate smart agricultural practices in Zambia 2014
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    This paper analyzes how a set of widely promoted agricultural practices, including reduced tillage, crop rotations, legume intercropping as well as the use of modern inputs, affect crop yields and their resilience (i.e. probability of disastrously low yields) in Zambia using panel data from the Rural Incomes and Livelihoods Surveys (RILS). The RILS data are merged with a novel set of climatic variables based on geo-referenced historical rainfall and temperature data to understand whether and how the effects of the practices analyzed here change with climatic conditions. We estimate the impacts on the level of maize yields and the probability of very low yields controlling for time-invariant unobservable household characteristics. We find no significant impact of minimum soil disturbance, positive impact of legume intercropping and a negative impact of crop rotation on maize yields, which is off-set by a significantly positive impact under highly variable rainfall conditions. We also fi nd that the average positive impacts of modern input use are conditioned by climatic variables, whereas that of legume intercropping is robust to shocks. Timely access to fertilizer is the most robust determinant of yields and resilience. This paper provides important insights into the interplay between food security outcomes and climatic variables, and provides policy implications for targeted interventions to improve the productivity and the resilience of smallholder agriculture in Zambia in t he face of climate change.

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