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Abstract

The Brazilian Sertão is the most populous semiarid region in the world, and faces the highest rates of poverty and food insecurity in Brazil. Irregular rainfall and climate variability make these social constraints even more difficult to be solved in the short term, since basic economic activities in the region, as dairy farming and subsistence agriculture, tend to be mainly affected by recurrent and prolonged droughts. This study analyzes the impacts of climate conditions on the agricultural production and how adaptative strategies may alleviate such effects. First, it analyzes the dynamics of climate variables between 1974 and 2013 in the semi-arid region of the State of Bahia, the largest and most populous State of Sertão. Secondly, based on a panel with climatic and production data, it assesses the ex-poste impacts of these climate variables on the agricultural production of the municipalities in the region. Thirdly, it estimates the relation between several adaptive strategies and the agricultural family farmers’ production, based on microdata of the Brazilian Agricultural Census for small farmers in the region. The study evaluates four main agricultural productions: milk, cattle, goat, sheep and corn. The final and general aim of this study is to discuss the effectiveness of strategies for small farmers which would create climate resilience and attenuate the negative impacts of climate change on agricultural production of this vulnerable region.

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