FARMERS AWARENESS AND KNOWLEDGE ON CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION STRATEGIES IN NORTHERN LUZON, PHILIPPINES

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1 FARMERS AWARENESS AND KNOWLEDGE ON CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION STRATEGIES IN NORTHERN LUZON, PHILIPPINES ABSTRACT Leonora E. Ngilangil, Samuel O. Olivar and Ma. Liezel A. Ballesil Faculty Members,Institute of Environmental Studies Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University Bacnotan, La Union Tel/Fax No. (072) loc. 274 For Climate change adaptation is crucial in highly vulnerable areas. In this study, farmers awareness and knowledge on climate change concepts and adaptation strategies were determined as well as the problems and issues that hinders their adoption. Selected municipalities in northern region were chosen as study sites where a total of 799 farmers were taken as respondents. The farmer- respondents were selected randomly from active members of farmers association and cooperatives. A structured questionnaire, and focus group discussion were conducted to determine their awareness on climate change and to solicit their adaptive responses. The farmer-respondents in the region are highly aware on climate change concepts.they believed that crop production is at great risk during extreme weather events but not the human activities increasing greenhouse emissions. Of the 17 adaptation strategies enumerated, fifteen are oftenly except for rain water harvesting, drip irrigation and livestock management which were found sometimes. Adaptation measures being expensive, laborious and highly technical were found to be the issues and problems that hinder the adoption of these adaptive strategies. The Local Government Units should provide the infrastructure to the farmers to assist them adapt to climate change. Keywords: climate change adaptation strategies, level of awareness, adoption INTRODUCTION Climate change is expected to have serious environmental, economic, and social impacts in all parts of the globe. The impacts of climate change are already seen in 74

2 unprecedented heat waves, cyclones, floods, salinization of the coastline and effects on agriculture, fisheries and health. The Philippines is highly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. With 50.3 percent of its total area and 81.3 percent of the population vulnerable to natural disasters, it is considered a natural disaster hot-spot (Rincón and Virtouso,Jr, 2008). The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, heat waves, floods, droughts, and even earthquakes have increased in recent years altering agricultural and coastal and marine ecosystem output and productivity. According to Tubiello (2002), the agriculture sector remains highly vulnerable to the effects of changing climate. In particular, the rural farmers, whose livelihoods depend on the use of natural resources, are likely to bear the brunt of adverse impacts(manila Bulletin, 2010), (Gbetibouo, 2009). This in turn, give significant effects on agricultural production and consequently on food security of the country. Data showed that from , agriculture and infrastructure losses estimated at P20 billion, mainly due to hazards of the hydrological events like cyclones (NEDA, 2011). The rise in temperature, for even a degree, can already decrease the agricultural yield to about 10 percent.an increase in the temperature for a 2 degree Celsius is enough to raise the result in an increased amount of rainfall (Olesen,2002 ). A 2 3.5oC increase in temperature would result in a decline in farm net revenues by 9 25 percent (DFID 2004b, UNDP-UNEP 2010). Climate change mitigation is urgent and adaptation to climate change is crucial. Adaptation can greatly reduce adverse effects and realize opportunities associated to climate change (Bryant, et.al, 2000). Without adaptation, economic losses could be expected and thus, will result to a net costs in the future, and these costs will grow overtime. The agriculture sector in the Philippines is by far, coping with the impacts of climate change. Adaptive strategies such as organic agriculture, better farm management, use of new cultivars and other new technologies are introduced to farmers to increase their crop yield as well as to optimize resources for sustainable development. In the region, farmers adaptive strategies in coping climate change has not been documented. Thus, it is the objective of the study to determine the level of awareness and knowledge of farmers on climate change ; the level of adoption and effectiveness of the adaptive strategies employed by farmerrespondents ; the problems and issues encountered by the farmers respondents; the significant differences on the extent of awareness and knowledge of the farmer respondents among provinces; and the relationship between the level of adoption and the level of effectiveness of the adaptive strategies on climate change by the farmers among provinces in the region. METHODOLOGY This study was conducted in the four provinces of Region I. Shown in figure 1 were the study sites. In Ilocos Norte, the selected study sites were the municipalities of Pagudpud, Bacarra, Dingras, Badoc and the city of Batac. There were eight municipalities selected in Ilocos Sur namely: Tagudin, Sta. Maria, Narvacan, Bantay, Sto. Domingo, Magsingal and Sinait and Candon City while in La Union, the study sites selected were the municipalities of Agoo, Aringay, Bacnotan, Balaoan, Bangar, Burgos, Pugo and Santol. In Pangasinan, the study sites chosen were the municipalities of Binmaley, Calasiao, Sta. Barbara, Dagupan City and Lingayen. 75

3 All the study sites were assessed by the Local Government Units as vulnerable areas. The study was conducted from November 2010 to May, Figure 1. Map of Region 1 The study utilized the descriptive survey research design wherein a structured questionnaire was formulated, and distributed to the farmer respondents using random sampling technique. The questionnaire was pre-tested in San Juan, La Union prior to its distribution. The survey solicited their present socio-economic status; their level of awareness and knowledge on climate change; their extent of adoption on the adaptive strategies and the level of effectiveness of the adaptive strategies they adopt and the problems and issues they encountered. Prior to the floating of the questionnaire, a courtesy call was made to the Local Chief Executive requesting for a permit. Once approved, personal interviews to the Provincial Agriculturist and /or the City Agriculturist was conducted to identify the adaptive strategies being implemented by the farmers in their locality. A walk-through to the study sites was done to validate practices. Focused group discussion was also done to assess their awareness and knowledge on climatic change and to identify possible adaptive responses. The agricultural technician assigned in the selected study sites assisted the researchers in the selection of the farmer respondents. Good agricultural practices were documented. There were 799 farmer- respondents in the study. The farmers were selected randomly whose livelihood depends on agriculture and allied activities. Moreover, those farmers who are active members in farmers association and cooperatives in their locality and also those with current good agricultural practices were given considerations. Descriptive statistics such as means, ranks were used to analyse data. Analysis of Variance and correlation analysis were also used. The level of awareness, level of adoption and level of effectiveness were rated using the 5-point hedonic rating scale as follows: 76

4 Numerical Value Range Values Descriptive Equivalent Very highly aware/ always / very effective Highly aware/often /effective Aware/sometimes / moderately effective Low/seldom /slightly effective Very low/ never / not effective Results and Discussions Socio-economic profile of the farmers respondents Majority of the farmer-respondents are married, males, seasoned farmers with mean age of years, have been in farming for about years, high school graduates, with very meager area of landholdings, with monthly income of P5,000- P8,000. Level of knowledge and awareness on Climate Change In Table 1, the level of knowledge and awareness of the farmers respondents on climate change concepts was found to be generally high. The farmers believed that crop production is at great risk during extreme weather events (4.14), however, their concept on human activities could increase greenhouse emission, though rated high was found to be rated least (3.76). The farmers respondents in the region are highly aware (3.94) on climate change concepts, causes and impacts. Analysis of Variance on the level of knowledge and awareness of farmers on climate change between provinces revealed significant results. The results would mean that the farmer respondents in the region though, they are well aware and knowledgeable on the concepts of climate change, their knowledge and awareness vary from each other. The significant differences among provinces could be attributed to its geographical location and resources which could affect the microclimate and eventually affect their production. This could also be attributed to the priority projects/programs of the local government units, considering that they are empowered to implement their action plans. Further test using the Tukey HSD Multiple Comparison showed significant differences between provinces of Ilocos Norte with Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan. The Local Government Units are empowered to implement their programs based from the Regional Framework Agenda for Climate Change, however, the implementation maybe done based on the available resources existing in their locality. The cooperation and commitment also of the community stakeholders and the involvement of other social institutions such as the school, church and non-governmental organizations may be some of the reasons of the significant differences. 77

5 Table 1. Level of Knowledge and Awareness on Climate Change Climate Change (concepts, causes and PROVINCE Impacts) Gran d Mean Ilocos Norte Iloco s Sur La Unio n Pang asin an 1.Climate Change is a global issue/problem High Descriptive Equivalent 2.Forest degradation affects the local climate High 3.Crop production is at great risk during extreme weather events High 4.Shifting cultivation/slash and burn cultivation fields can create gullies in the valley bottoms 5. Climate change can impact the marine, terrestrial, agricultural systems High High 6.Landslides and flashfloods not only destroy High the lands but also destroy the irrigation canals, foot trails, and House 7. Vector-borne diseases are not only High affecting the lowlands but also the uplands 8. Climate change increases agricultural inputs but decreases yields and production ( reduced High marginal yields) 9. Seasonal changes in rainfall, temperature High could alter growing seasons, planting/harvesting calendars 10. Climate change alters photosynthesis and High biomass production 11.Climate change alters land suitability High 12. Climate change intensifies and disrupts High water cycle. 13. A warmer climate would reduce flexibility in crop distribution and increase irrigation High demands 14. Expansion of the range of pests could High increase vulnerability and result in greater use of pesticides 15. Human activities could increase High greenhouse emission. 16. Climate change increases weed and pest High population 17. Climate change leads to changes in High 78

6 irrigation water availability Grand Mean High Level of Adoption of the Adaptive Strategies on Climate Change Table 2 presents the level of adoption by farmers on adaptation strategies on climate change. The enumerated adaptive strategies as gleaned from table 2, were oftenly by the farmer respondents. There were only three adaptive strategies which were found to be sometimes. These include rainwater harvesting, the use of drip irrigation water to minimize water loss, and livestock management. Rainwater harvesting may be a new strategy for the farmers while the use of drip irrigation may not suit them well. Issues and Problems Encountered in the Adoption of the Adaptive Strategies Table 3 presents the issues and problems encountered in the adoption of the adaptive strategies by the farmers on climate change. The pressing issues and problems encountered by the farmers in the adoption of the adaptive strategies was on the adaptation measures being expensive (rank 1). Farmers in Ilocos Sur and in Pangasinan are of the same concerns while the farmers in La Union find the adaptive strategies laborious which they ranked first. Adaptation measures being highly technical for local farmers ranked next (rank 3) and lack of information/extension services regarding climate change adaptation was ranked fourth. Except for farmers in Ilocos Norte, the respondents recognized the need for information or extension services on climate change. Table 2. Level of Adoption by Farmers on Adaptation Strategies on Climate Change Adaptation Strategies PROVINCE Grand Descriptive Ilocos Ilocos La Pangasinan Mean Equivalent norte Sur Union Forecasts and early warning systems and protection measures for natural disasters Often Suitable crop species and varieties under the changed rainfall conditions Use early maturing rice varieties in the face of climatic variability Often Often On-farm irrigation Often Rainwater harvesting Sometimes 79

7 Use of soil moisture conservation measures (e.g. mulching) Increasing soil-water holding capacity by maximizing root depth Use of drip irrigation method to minimize water loss. Adopted Often Often Sometimes Adjusting/timing of farm operations (planting data/calendar). Improved rice cultivation techniques and livestock and manure management to reduce methane emission Often Often Develop simple measures for rapid harvesting and post harvesting. Restoration of degraded lands Often Often More use of intercropping Often Food reserves and storage as temporary Often relief. Reforestation and afforestation Often Diversified farming Often Livestock management to adjust to new climate conditions Sometimes 80

8 Training on alternative income generation skills Often Grand Mean Often Table 3. Issues and problems that hinder the adoption of adaptive strategies Issues and Problems PROVINCE Total Ilocos Ilocos La Pangasinan Rank Norte Sur Union Rank Adaptation measures are expensive Adaptation measures are highly technical for local farmers Adaptation measures are laborious Technologies are not suited to farming practices and crops planted Uncertain economic returns on adaptation investment Time constraints Lack of information/extension services regarding climate change adaptation CONCLUSIONS In this study, the farmer-respondents in the region are highly aware on climate change concepts. The level of adoption and effectiveness of adaptive strategies were found to be highly and highly effective except for rainwater harvesting, drip irrigation and livestock management which were sometimes and moderately effective. The identified problems and issues that hinder the adoption of the adaptive strategies by the farmers were that the adaptation measures are expensive, laborious and highly technical for them. There was a significant difference on the level of adoption and effectiveness of the adaptive strategies among provinces in the region. 81

9 Acknowledgements The authors wish to acknowledge the support and assistance of the Research Unit of the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University headed by Vice-President Patricia M. Barcelo, Dr. Zosima B. Tadina and her staff. Special thanks to Ms. Jovita Valmores for the tallying of the results. REFERENCES Bryant,D. et. Al Adaptation in Canadian Agriculture to Climatic Variability and Change. Kluwer Academic press. Netherlands. DFID 2004 Gbetibouo, Glwadys A Understanding Farmer s perceptions and Adaptations to Climate Change and Variability. Environemnt and production Technology Division. International Food Policy Research Institute. IFPRI, Climate poses great risks to Poor people Washington, USA NEDA 2010, 2011 Nzeadibe, T.C., C.L Egbule, N.A. Chukwuone, Climate Change Awareness and Resilient Adaptation: Indigeneous Drivers of Regional STI Policy in Niger Delta. Olesen,J.E.,and M.Bindi Consequences of Climate Change for European Agricultural productivity, land use and Policy. European Journal of Agronomy 16 (4) : Raju, Mallikarjuna Climate Change and Agricultural Production. Adhyayan Publishers and Distributors: New delhi Rincon and Virtouso, Jr Climate Change in the Philippines: Contribution to the Country Environmental Analysis Rubin, E. and Richard Cooper, et. Al Global Climate Change and Mitigation Tubiello, F.N. and F. Evert Simulating the Effects of Elevated CO 2 on Crops: Approaches and Applications for Climate Change. European Journal of Agronomy. 18 (1-2) :

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