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Abstract

Located in southern Africa, Malawi is a country increasingly facing numerous climate-related stressors including droughts and floods. Adaptation to these stressors is critical to the sustainability of the farming systems in the country. Using household and plot level data collected in 2011, we implement a multivariate probit model to assess the determinants of farmer adaptation behavior to climatic risks. The ex-ante adaptation practices considered by farmers include: planting drought, disease and pest tolerant varieties, early planting, soil and water conservation and crop diversification. We find that plot characteristics, credit constraints and availability of climate-related information explain the adoption of several of these adaptation practices. We also find that even when financial limitations are binding, availing climate-related information still motivate farmers to adapt. Policy effort to build resilience among rural farming systems should focus on extension education and information delivery with special emphasis on climate risks information and associated adaptation mechanisms.

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