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Abstract

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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