Strategies for adaptation to climate change through microfinances: an experimental evaluation in Colombian agriculture = Estrategias de adaptación al cambio climático a través de las microfinanzas: una evaluación experimental en la agricultura colombiana
The growing problem of maintaining socio-economic sustainability in a changing climate has focused attention of a wide range of stakeholders on devising and delivering adaptive responses. A series of IPCC reports have emphasised that the economies of developing countries and particularly the poor would bear the brunt of climate change impacts. Farmers are highly vulnerable because of their high and direct dependency on natural resources, climate-sensitive livelihoods and lack of access to resources that they could rely on to respond successfully to shocks. Microfinance has become an increasingly used and effective tool to respond to major global challenges at the local level, including poverty and climate change. This thesis seeks to analyze the effects that the level of climate change risk and impact has on the willingness of Colombian farmers to invest, through microfinances, in strategies to adapt anticipatively to climate change. The methodology combines experimental economic games, surveys and interviews with farmers who cultivate three different crops: coffee, cocoa and citrus. The findings demonstrate that adaptation decisions depend on climate variability, the cost to implement an adaptation strategy and its benefits to cope with current hazards. Some farmers are risk takers as they prefer to face the risk of losing the harvest rather than pay the adaptation costs. Integrated pest management and beekeeping were strategies preferred under any level of climate variability, while farmers invested in crop diversification and solar dehydrators when facing higher risk of climate change. They were willing to obtain individual and associative microcredits. Microcredits awarded to small farmers in a short period of time enable them to accumulate and manage assets that make them less vulnerable. Microfinance can be more effective when combined with training and bottom-up strategies such as social networks, establishment of partnerships, collective lands and social learning that help farmers to increase their earnings, improve land productivity and promote food security.
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